25 February 2009
23 February 2009
A few months back, Anna put up a poll, wanting to know what colors of horses people preferred. And her favorite, bay (like our horse King), tied for first.
- Jet-black like a Friesian 21%
- Bay (rich red-golden with black legs, mane and tail) 21%
- Chestnut 17%
- Brown 3%
- Spotted Appaloosa 5%
- Grey or White 1%
- Palomino 7%
- Piebald (Paint or Pinto) 3%
- Blue roan 13%
- Strawberry roan 1%
My favorite is the Blue roan... Rebekah (our other horse lover) is partial to Palominos. Horses are such fabulous animals!
21 February 2009
20 February 2009
I told her again that as much as I'd like to be able to give her more applesauce, there was no more. She could have another cinnamon roll, but the applesauce was all gone.
Her response? She gave a big sigh, sat her bowl down on the floor, and laid face down on the floor beside the bed, wrapping her arms around her head. You would have thought that she'd experienced a life-changing catastrophe!
I waited a few more seconds and then scooted across the bed to see what she was doing, since she'd dropped out of sight. She was just laying there and I watched her for a bit, but then I started to chuckle...
As I continued to chuckle, it was hilarious to watch her struggle to maintain her sad composure - as she fought valiantly the smile trying to spread across her face...
She did final lose the struggle, began to giggle and took her bowl back to the kitchen to find a cinnamon roll. But, are two year olds supposed to be that purposefully manipulative? or that capable of theatrical display?Maybe it is because she has 4 big sisters to teach her all of their tricks!
19 February 2009
"The following story raises questions about the difference between deception and a culturally acceptable strategy: The first chapter of exodus tells us that a new king 'who did not know Joseph' (vs. 8) came to power in Egypt. The king looked around the land and noticed that 'the Israelites have become much too numerous for us' (v. 9). A plan was crafted to decrease the Israelite population. Part of the plan involved two Hebrew midwives, Shiphrah and Puah, who were instructed to kill each Hebrew boy at birth but allow the girl babies to live." "The midwives feared God and 'did not do what the king of Egypt told them to do' (v. 17). Eventually the king called the two women in and asked them why they had been letting the male babies live. They responded, 'Hebrew women are not like Egyptian women; they are vigorous and give birth before the midwives arrive' (v. 19)." "In this brief story that sets the scene for Moses' birth, we have a serious conflict of interests and, in a larger sense, a conflict between the forces of good and the forces of evil. The Hebrew midwives used several strategies in maganging this conflict: silence (they did not reply to the king's request), inaction (they did not do as he had commanded) and misdirection/diversion (they placed the blame elsewhere - on the Hebrew women who gave birth before they could arrive)." "Western Christians are both pleased and troubled by this story. They would affirm the women for choosing not to obey the king because they feared God. Some are troubled, however, that the midwives remained silent before the king and did not 'speak the truth' of their convictions and tell him outright that they would not obey. Perhaps most troubling is the blatant, self-serving 'lie' the midwives told regarding the Hebrew women's delivering the children before they arrived." "Adding to our confusion are the words immediately following, in which God reveals his commentary on the series of events: 'So God was kind to the midwies' (v. 20). God seems to have approved (at least he did not judge or condemn) the silence and the 'lie.' Perhaps these tactics were understood differently than we understand them and need to be further understood so we can see them as God does..." "...Two-Thirds World people may use inaction, silence, misdirection and the indefinite third party as a means of handling conflict situations. to the Westerner such strategies may appear at times ethically questionalbe; but that may not necessarily be the case. we must understand what lying and deception are in that particular culture and weigh that against Scripture. The bible does not overtly condemn these indirect strategies; in several situations it seems to support their use." "Bringing a cultural practice under the authority of Scripture is not Westerners' exclusive responsiblity. All of us are prone to interpret the Bible through our cultural lenses and to mingle our won cultural preferences with biblical teaching. Christians from various cultures would serve one another and the cause of biblical interpretation by joining in prayer and discussion on these matters." (pp. 129-130, 133)
17 February 2009
This photo was just taken at their school's Homecoming last Friday... and just in case you were wondering, they are the two "big" girls in this photo. Haven't they turned into beautiful young women?
Kiersten was crowned Homecoming Queen...
...and Leandra was a court representative.
My only little hint of sadness in returning to Niger was knowing that I'd be missing this special night for two of my favorite people.
PS Kudos to their mama... she made their dresses, and as always, they are INCREDIBLY GORGEOUS!
16 February 2009
When a person cannot fulfill certain obligations, she or he fears loss of face. The person needing to save face leads the other person to believe that the blame is not her or his own. When this happens in the West, we call it "scapegoating," the placing of blame somewhere else when it is primarily our own fault. In other parts of the world, however, the strategy of "misdirection," "deflection" or "divirsion" is a finely honed art. Instead of accepting the responsiblity for some problem, one directs, deflects or diverts the blame elsewhere... Here is how is worked out in the purchase of a lamp. A foreigner working in the country purchased a large desk lamp from a Chinese merchant. The delivery was promised for the next afternoon. When the foreigner called wondering why the lamp had not been delivered, he was told that the delivery man was sick and the delivery might be in a few days. When the foreigner said he would be willing to come by and pick it up in person, the manager said that unfortunately there were some workman nearby repairing the water lines, and the road was most difficult to travel. When asked how serious the delivery man's condition was, the manager said that actually it was the delivery man's sister who was sick, and he was at her bedside. The truth of the matter was that the lamp was out of stock, however the shop manager was embarrassed, or thought it would be a loss of face, to say that. He was trying to stall for time until he could receive delivery of the appropriate lamp from his wholesaler, and the fact that the customer could not infer this from his comments was most surpising. The merchant wanted to provide efficient service and please the customer. Saying, "No, I cannot deliver the lamp tomorrow" would have disappointed the customer, something all merchants wish to avoid, especially in a "face" or shame culture. The foreigner would have preferred a direct, honest answer, even if the bad news was that he would have to wait a few more days. Again, both were operating from their own cultural norms. Suppose you were in the same situation. Knowing what you know now, what would you do if there was no urgency in having the lamp delivered? On the other hand, waht if you very much needed the lamp delivered tomorrow because of a special even at your house?... If there was no urgency, you might wait an extra day and then call again and gently inquire. Getting the message about the sickness, you might assume that the lamp was going to arrive, but not at the specified time. You would not assume deliberate deception or malice. If it was urgent that the lamp arrive the next day, you might (before purchasing it) say how important it is to have the lamp delivered tomorrow. If it does not arrive, your embarrassment will be great because of the important friends you are expecting. Besides, your friends will want to know where you purchased such a beautiful lamp. Now the merchant realizes he might cause you loss of face if the delivery is not made. Understanding the situation, he may (1) suggest that you purchase another lamp (meaning the one he has in stock and can deliver at the stated time), (2) offer the use of the floor model until a new lamp can be obtained from the warehouse or (3) try a face-saving way of escap such as "I think this is the perfect lamp for you, but my driver is sick and may not be able to make the delivery." Westerners prefer direct forms of communication and are not good at reading between the lines. Yet in most cultures the people are masters at indirect speech, and one must become accustomed to it if one is to survive and prosper in the Two-Thirds World.... (p. 116-118)
15 February 2009
14 February 2009
After their daddy snapped these quick photos, they were all sternly warned not to repeat this behavior... and hopefully, the windshield wipers still work... not that we'll need them any time in the next 5 months...
According to the National Transportation Safety Bureau, which investigates air crashes, U.S. air carriers transported an estimated 770 million passengers in 2007, with a total of 44 fatalities in 62 air carrier accidents. In contrast, more than 44,000 people died in vehicle accidents in the United States in 2007. The leading causes of death in the United States don't have anything to do with what type of transportation you take, but with your health. The leading cause of death is heart disease, followed closely by cancer. The lifetime odds of dying of heart disease are 1-in-5 (based on 2001 statistics), while those of dying in an auto accident are 1-in-100. The odds of dying in an air travel accident are 1-in-20,000.
So why doesn't it make me feel any better?
13 February 2009
12 February 2009
11 February 2009
09 February 2009
We only celebrate big birthday "parties" with invitations, planned games and lots of friends for birthdays #s 1, 5, 10 and 16. The rest of the time, the kids get to plan something special with one or two friends and the family. Tori turned 6 this year, and asked if we could take her out for a meal at the buvette at the Rec Center (which would include a milkshake), and if she could invite a couple of friends to join her. Hanging out at the pool (which just reopened for the year), sipping Koolaide, ice tea or a cold coke while eating fries and being together...? ...well, you don't have to twist our arms!
But it was also February 8... Tim's birthday (Can you guess how old he is?). He likes to enjoy a brownie sunday each year for his birthday... and, of course, the meal of his choice. This year, he had fajitas... yummy! When we are at the pool, Tim likes to read, harass the kids, sleep in the sun and make an occasional splash in the pool......but this Sunday, I think his highlight was cuddling with Elsie Mae, who is so glad to be back with her "Baaba!"
And one final picture: The whole fam, TOGETHER AT LAST! Yes - Mary Michelle does not have a matching outfit... yet... we hope to correct that! We came to the pool straight after church, so we had a friend snap this photo before the kids started to have their fun.