Thursday, October 27, 2011

Homemade Candy

I finally made some yummy homemade candy today. I've been wanting to try this, but things have been crazy between making products for my "business," finding a house and then planning to move all in one week, and still keep up with the boys. However, I finally made it (with the help of the boys) today because I want something they can trade for the Halloween candy they receive. So, because I've been asked for the recipes, here's what I made today:

Peanut Butter Balls

To the best of my memory, here are the changes I made to the recipe (I doubled (ish) it):

3-4 T natural peanut butter
200 grams dates (make sure you take out the pits before you put them in the food processor- just a tip I discovered)
vanilla extract (not sure how much I used)
carob chips (that's what I have)
salt (I have unsalted p.b.)

Almond Joy Bars:
1) I used the recipe for chocolate butter here with the following changes:
For the sweetener, I put in some stevia. First I put in liquid, but I didn't want to use too much since the alcohol gives it a strong flavor (like fake sweetener). So then I used some of the powdered herb. It still needed more sweetener, so I added some honey, but didn't have enough so threw in some maple syrup. It doesn't need to be that complicated, next time I'll just make sure I have enough honey!
2) Then, combining a few posts/ideas of this same blogger, I threw in some coconut flakes, almond extract, and chopped almonds and added it to the processor. Then I put it on parchment paper on a baking sheet, pressed the mixture down to make "bars" (or you can roll it between parchment paper) and froze it. Yummy and very rich!

Pumpkin Balls (Also called Raisin Butter Balls by Jeremiah):

Using the idea from a recipe here, I threw in a random amount of raisins (I didn't have any more dates), some pumpkin butter I'd made (or you can use pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice), and some almonds. I'm not sure on the amounts, but next time I'll use more raisins and less pumpkin to make it a less gooey consistency (though I could still roll them into a ball). Since I didn't, I put these in the freezer instead of the fridge (unlike the Peanut Butter balls).

I was able to make all three of these in a small amount of time with the boys "helping me" (i.e. stealing tastes) and still cooking dinner. Not because I have talent, just because they were that easy.

Some other "candies" I want to try:


Homemade Coconut Butter to make coconut candy (or the macaroons above)


I'm enjoying the yummy recipes on this blog despite the fact that I am not vegan (I'm also enjoying my 1/2 pig share).


Tuesday, August 09, 2011

4th of July pics (okay, so I'm a bit late)

So we're back from vacation. Kind-of. We had 2 1/2 weeks of vacation (first Michigan with Daniel's family, then North Carolina with mine) and stopped by Marion on the way back to Wheaton to drop off some things and "move-in." We've been in Wheaton for a few days doing some packing, doctor appointments, etc. and leave tomorrow evening to go back to Marion. So I'm not sure what this "in-between" time would be called.
I have pictures I've been meaning to post. These are a bit late, but here they are, starting with the 4th of July:

This year we celebrated the 4th of July in the States for the first time in years! Our Fourth of July weekend included an evening at the "Eyes to the Skies" Festival, a parade, a family cook-out, family fun, and fireworks!
Eyes to the Skies Festival:
Magic Show (Jer's in the orange shirt holding a white handkerchief)

Mesmerized by the show (both our boys watched it for the entire time- even Timmy was engrossed!)

The boys loved the bouncy thing (esp Timmy, behind and to the right of Jer)

Sitting in a real airplane

Ready to take off!

Love those lips!

Jer and Grandpa

And the highlight- the hot air balloons (hence the "eyes to the skies")

A Purple People Eater, Humpty Dumpty, and a ?Gopher/Beaver?

A panda

Waiting for the parade to start

Showing patriotism for their birth home passport country

Here come the firetrucks!

Timmy's a little unsure about the noise

And, of course, we must have a snack

Cute little American

Enjoying "American" food...

With the Petersons...

And the Gerigs

Some fun games afterward

First car ride with the boys in the newly refinished 1969 Cutless
(my mom in front, me and the boys in back)

And the "big" boys had to go too

And, of course, yummy fruit!!
Later we put the boys to bed, left them with my parents (who had seen fireworks the night before) and drove to a nearby town to watch fireworks from the convertible with Daniel's parents. It had been a long time since we'd seen fireworks!

I must admit, it was great fun to finally celebrate the 4th in the U.S. and with family! I don't take that for granted anymore! :)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Pictures: Finally!

Here's what we've been up to since our move back:
Haircut for Timmy

Trying new styles

Goofing around

Enjoying Parks

Rock Jumping

Chasing Birds

Watching sports with Grandpa

Playing in the sprinkler

Playing "cars"

College Reunion

Water Play
Enjoying family time

For these and more pictures, see link below:

Friday, May 13, 2011

Healing, Part II

As I mentioned in a previous post, Daniel and I both feel that this "limbo" stage is to be a time of healing. As a result, I've focused on healing in our lives. However, I fell into the trap of over-focusing on the physical healing, which led to stress, anxiety, and weariness. Because of our digestive issues coming back from the D.R., we've cut out certain foods. It took a while to figure out how to cook to our diet when I was still trying to figure out how to cook in the U.S. And far too often I found my thoughts centering about what foods I could make or what ideas I had that might "fix us." And then along with this I've struggled with my neck and back pain. However, the more I focused on trying to control my external healing, the more I ignored the internal healing, and the more weary I became.
And then a few weeks ago I went to a women's bible study (there were only two left of the year, but I wanted to take advantage of any "women" time I could get). I was put in a small group and we proceeded to watch the last session of a Beth Moore study. It was exactly what I needed to hear. This stuck out to me the most- we should never be hindered by fear and never forget the tendency to expend energy on the "lesser battle" (as opposed to fighting for our marriages, families, children, etc.). I realized that I'd been fighting so hard for physical health, that I was expending all my energy on that and leaving none for what is really important! This was the beginning of a change in focus.
I attended the last bible study meeting (a time of fellowship, eating, and large group sharing). I felt touched and amazed as I heard different women's testimonies of the way God had moved in their lives this past year. The theme of the year, "On the move" fit well with our place in life. At one point, they invited anyone who wanted to share to do so with the whole group (over 60 women). I felt God gently tugging at my heart and found myself sharing in front of the entire room! I shared with them the transition from the D.R. and the dream Daniel had, how God has put us in a place of brokenness and healing, and how God continues to show us that
He is our goal- not a future home or job, not even physical health.
God continues to remind me more and more to cling to Him.
So that is what we are focusing on right now- our spiritual healing- drawing close to Him, making Him our desire, and allowing Him to change us.


This transition thing is just no fun. Ive meant to post. And I've wanted to post. I've needed to process, but I've unconsciously (and maybe sometimes consciously) avoided it. So here's me processing.

The things I miss most about the D.R. right now:
1) People- Missing familiar faces; missing chatting with friends
2) STABILITY- We're starting to suffer from the instability of not having our own home, a regular schedule (Daniel works random days and random hours; it could be any day of the week or any hours. But he gets to choose from what's available), and of still not knowing what the future holds.
3) The mountains, the sound of cows, waterfalls, palm trees, etc..
4) Going into town and almost always running into someone you know.
5) Spanish. Listening to it, conversing in it.
6) Less varied weather- Here it's changed 40-50 degrees within the same week. In Jarabacoa it doesn't really do that in the same year.
7) Affordable eggplant, squash, and peppers. I'm really missing the varieties of peppers. I hardly even use peppers now. Surprisingly we've found very affordable mangos lately!

Things I'm enjoying about the U.S.
1) Being around family!
2) Parks, library, shopping carts that hold multiple children (one in the front like normal, and one below in a "car"), restrooms with changing tables
3) Smooth roads, sane driving, faster travel
4) LESS MOLD! I think this is helping my health. :)
5) Dr. appointments (as in, they make appointments and it's not come in whenever and wait multiple hours).
6) Garage sales! Wahooo! I can't believe how cheap we've been able to buy things!
7) Super yummy apples and sweet potatoes.

Okay, most of that was pretty superficial, but it's good to get some of that processing out. Next time I process I'll go a little deeper.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Bowing to the King

We've been here 4 weeks tomorrow. Wow. In some ways it feels much longer than that. We arrived with a sick 3 year old; Timmy and I fell sick shortly after. It's been a long time since I've been that sick. I was shocked when I felt well enough to see myself in the mirror; I hadn't realized I'd lost so much weight (which wasn't a good thing since I'd lost weight a few weeks previously from another illness). The first week and a half of our time in the U.S. I left the house all of one day. All that to say, our transition was a bit rough. Many times during the sickness I was tempted to lose hope. Had God dropped us here with no home and just left us? Where was He in all of this? And I fought Him internally. I didn't want to submit to Him and what He was allowing in our lives. But each time He restored my hope and revealed to me just how much I want everything to "go my way."

Before we left the D.R., I felt slightly concerned with our lack of future stability. We had no car, no "home", and no job awaiting us (of our own, that is). When we arrived part of me thought everything would "fall together." This is another thing I've fought. My desire was to be in Indiana by now. With a home. And a job. And God keeps reminding me that His ways are not mine. And are far greater than mine. But the wonderful thing about these reminders are that they are never condemning. They are the loving nudges of a caring Father, continually reminding me to come back to Him and trust in Him. Through scripture and words of encouragement from others He directs me to submit to His plan. And I think back to so many other times when I've fought God in an area and ended up so thankful that He had his way and I didn't have mine. And so I know that His plan will be better than mine, because it always is!

Yesterday the pastor at our church talked about bowing to the humble King. When Jesus rode in on a humble donkey that Palm Sunday He declared Himself the King prophesied in the Old Testament. But most of the people's view was too narrow- they only imagined a King that would free them from Roman rule. And when he died less than a week later their hopes were crushed. Things hadn't gone how they'd expected and desired. And I don't know, but I wonder if some of the disciples "fought" God. And I'm almost certain that all of them had questions- hundreds of questions. Until that third day when Christ conquered sin and the grave. Because He did not come to break the chains of the Romans. He came to break the chains of sin itself, to free us from guilt, condemnation, and our own sinfulness. Praise the LORD! How small my view is, wondering why I need to wait when God knows what He is doing. His timing is good. My view is so small!
Help me to bow to you daily, Lord, and to remember that You see the big picture and have a plan for us! Amen!
"'For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.'" -Jeremiah 29:11

More updates to come...

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Jeremiah's Adjustment to the U.S.

"What's that?" (pointing to a mail truck)
"What are those?" (looking at geese)
"What's that?" (pointing to every building we drove past)
"Are there lions in the United States?"
"In the summer it will be snow time?"
"I put the papel in the trash because I wanted to." (after going potty)
"I don't have any pesos!" (he wanted pesos to put in the offering)
"First I took an airplane to the airport, then I took another airplane to here." (telling Nonna as they watched an airplane fly by)
"I miss our guaguita."

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Warning: I'm not sure if the below makes much sense, as I'm still in my "brain fog," but here are my thoughts, disconnected as they may be.

"As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?
Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God." -Psalm 42:1-2,11

"Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost." -Isaiah 55:1

As I've struggled with our current situation (being in limbo/transition and without any idea of when we will find a job and move to Indiana), God continues to bring a few things to mind:

1) Trust. I belong to Him. He will take care of us.
2) Peace. This comes from #1.
3) Healing. Use this time in "limbo" for healing and restoration.
Healing- our family is in much need of that right now, both internally and externally. Internally, because packing up ones family, selling almost everything, and moving thousands of miles and across the ocean (even if it is to "return") doesn't happen without causing some pain, and externally because our health hasn't been terrible lately.
When I think of healing, I picture water. Clear, cool, refreshing, soothing water. Water is crucial to life and health. And spiritual water is crucial to spiritual life and health. And so as my body continue to fight this nasty flu bug, my spirit thirsts for God, just as my throat thirsts for water (even if it's a little hard to swallow). And I look to God as my healer, both internally, and externally!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Saying Goodbye

From the time we found out we were leaving until the time we left we had 6 weeks. 6 weeks to sort, sell, and pack up 5 1/2 years of life, and 6 weeks to say goodbye. 2 1/2 of these weeks we weren't even in Jarabacoa (boy's house trip and vacation with Petersons). During the 3 1/2 weeks we were in Jarabacoa we took special care to say goodbye to special people, places, and things. We knew this was necessary to close the door to our time there. So, even if it was silly we had some special "Dominican moments" (like trying food we'd always said we would but hadn't!). One day a friend watched the boys so we could go on a "day date." We went to the park, bought some souvenirs, bought some yummy Dominican food and ate it in the park, then drove to the river and walked along it. Other goodbyes included: visiting the Ark, visiting our church in town, having lunch or dinner with friends, having a goodbye party for Jer in his class at JCS, attending E.C. retreat, making gnocci at the boys' house, church at E.C., eating pica pollo and chimi burgers (and pina juice!), and having one last motorcycle ride (it'd been a while!). And, of course, taking pictures of random things.
This time of closure was critical for us, and I'm glad we didn't let the stress and business of packing up and selling things keep us from those special moments!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Traveling Blessings

Here are the blessings I noted while on our trip yesterday:

1)It was a beautiful clear morning. When the sun came up, the fog lifted and we enjoyed the last sights of the D.R.
2) As the sun rose behind a cloud, the top of the cloud appeared as though it were outlined in gold- a breathtaking sight!
3) Free carts and help in Santiago airport.
4) Of our 6 bags, 3 of them read over 50lbs (in spite of us weighing them beforehand), but they pulled them off right away anyway and didn't even look at the weight.
5) Very tranquilo, sleepy boys throughout the first flight (and an uneventful flight).
6) Friendly, helpful flight attendants
7) Friendly customs person, free carts in Miami to take our luggage through customs (and we managed to carry it all!)
8) A tranquilo Jer (though, sadly, it was because he was sick), and a not-too-difficult Timmy (though he did require more entertainment than the first flight until he finally fell asleep)
9) The reminder that God is in control- as we were landing in Chicago, we couldn't see anything out the window but clouds. After a while Daniel guessed we were in a holding pattern (which we found out later that we were). Finally we could tell that we were about to land, but we still couldn't see anything. It was slightly unnerving. I thought about how much that's like our life right now- we now we're landing somewhere, but right now we can't see where and how soon. And just as we had to trust the pilot, we need to trust that God knows where He's landing us! When we finally came out of the cloud we were only a few hundred feet up and within a minute or two of landing.
10) All our luggage arrived safely (as did we!) and we fit all our luggage in the car without needing to tie any to the top of the roof rack!
And the biggest blessings:
11) We knew we were blanketed with prayers throughout our trip and felt God's loving presence throughout.

Flight #1

Hanging out in the airport

Jer in the airport

End of flight number 2 (no, he didn't sleep the whole time)

All our luggage- 6 checked bags, 6 carry-ons, 2 car seats, two carriers, and 1 stroller

In our Indiana shirts (when will make it there?)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Some More Changes (to Changing Seasons)

So, for some reason, the banner on my blog disappeared. So I decided to make a new one. But when I put that one in, it was too large my current template. Since I'd spent hours on it already (it take a long time to try to upload any pictures or do anything online), I didn't want to go back, change it, and try to upload it again (at least not until I have a better connection!). So I quickly found a new template. I'm not thrilled with it, but it will work until I have time and the connection necessary to fiddle with it. And I've saved my old template too, so I can always go back!
Any suggestions would be great!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Changes at "Changing Seasons"

I’ve decided to make some changes to "Changing Seasons". First of all, I hope to blog more often. This past year has been rough (blogging related). Due to poor internet (making even loading web pages difficult), two busy boys, and keeping busy myself, I’ve let my blog slide. And I’m okay with that. But now I’d like to get back to blogging regularly. Secondly, my readers (if any such exist after my poor blogging habits) will notice many posts related to our re-entry back to the U.S. There are a few reasons for this:

1) I know I will do better at blogging regularly if I have a focus.

2) I know I need (mucho) time to process the changes that are taking place in my life. This gives me a place to process, share my thoughts, work through the transition, and hopefully receive some feedback. J

3) Since the purpose of my blog is to share our lives with those who read (and ultimately give glory to God through it), well, I figure I’ll do that! Hopefully this will not only include sharing my honest thoughts and feelings, but will also include humorous/embarrassing re-entry moments, as well as reactions the boys have to the changes (and lots of pictures once we have decent internet)!


4) Maybe this blog will also give encouragement to others who are also going through similar re-entry challenges.


Saturday, March 12, 2011

Meditating on Scriptures: Habakkuk 3:17-19

“Though the fig trees should not blossom
And there be no fruit on the vines,
Though the yield of the olive should fail
And the fields produce no food,
Though the flock should be cut off from the fold
And there be no cattle in the stalls,
Yet I will exult in the LORD,
I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.
The Lord GOD is my strength
And HE has made my feet like hinds’ feet,
And makes me walk on my high places.”
-Habakkuk 3:17-19

This verse has been both challenging and encouraging to us during this time of uncertainty. A few times I have written the verse in my own words to personalize it to our circumstances, almost as a kind of statement of my faith or personal challenge (though I still need help living it out!). Here’s my most recent rendition:

“Though we have no job
And no source of income
Though we have no final destination
And no place to call “home,”
Though we be cut off from what we have known here
And leave this place we love,
Yet I will exult in the LORD
I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.
The Lord GOD is my strength,
And He has made my feet like hinds’ feet,
And makes me walk on my high places.”

This isn’t to say that we aren’t looking forward to being near friends and family in the States, but it is a difficult time of uncertainties for us right now. There is so much about here that we will miss, and we don’t yet know what we will be going to or where we will live (after we leave Wheaton). But I cling to the words above- The Lord GOD is my strength! He will do good through all of this! Praise the Lord!

Wednesday, March 09, 2011


Here's a recent entry from my journal:

Two weeks today until we leave. We’ve never had this much uncertainty before. We have no job, no home, no fixed plans. We still need to find owners for our animals and sell our car, inverter, and many other items. And then we need to figure out how to start all over in a new place. The uncertainty of it all is overwhelming. At times I’m afraid I’ll be swallowed up by it. Nothing yet seems to be “falling into place.” And still other times I see beauty in it and have peace- beauty because I find beauty in the LORD and His ways, and peace knowing that God is in control and that “The LORD’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail.” Lamentations 3:22

And when I focus on these verses and on who He is my heart lifts because- though the circumstances seem so very big and insurmountable- I remember that God is big. His timing and ways are perfect and I can trust in Him!

“For the LORD is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting and His faithfulness to all generations.”

-Psalm 100:5

Friday, February 25, 2011

Peterson Update: USA- Here we come!

Below is the email we just sent out:
Dear Family and Friends,
As many of you already know, our family will be moving back to the States in one month. While we've known our time in the D.R. was drawing to a close, this latest change in our timetable occurred rather suddenly.
When we made our transition from JCS to Escuela Caribe we originally planned to finish out that school year and move back. However, after a few months we decided to renew Daniel's contract for one more year before leaving the D.R. We could already feel ourselves transitioning as we became more removed from Dominican culture and our friends in town. While we enjoyed what we were doing, we felt God preparing us to go back and felt the pull on our hearts to have our boys (and us) closer to family.
However, after moving to a slightly larger house on campus in September and buying chickens in October, we began to feel "comfortable" with life and struggled again with the decision about whether to move back. After much prayer, we felt God calling us back to Indiana (we'd previously been thinking North Carolina). We made the decision to move this June and began thinking and planning towards that.
Due to the low numbers of students here at Escuela Caribe currently, Daniel had at one point told the admin that if they needed staff to leave, we could leave early. However, everything still pointed towards our June timetable.
And then about three weeks ago Daniel had a dream. He wrote this in a message he sent out to fellow staff:
"Just to confirm how much God is in this, I had a dream on Monday night (before meeting Tuesday) that my family was riding on a train and we didn't know when/where we were supposed to get off. We were standing ready at the front of the train, watching ahead for some idea that we were supposed to get off. Then, the train stopped and somebody asked us, "What are you still doing here? This is the end of the line. You need to get off now." What had looked to me like tracks continuing, was really a decorated sidewalk that continued on. After we got off the train, we walked a short distance and saw a huge cathedral/castle-type building and were just lost in awe. I didn't understand it at the time, but God made it clear to me during meeting this morning."

That same day, after the staff meeting, we were told that they would need us to leave early, after all.
While this is still very difficult, as Daniel has said- we feel God's hand in it and trust His timing. Tomorrow is Daniel's last day of work, we meet up with Daniel's family in Santo Domingo for a previously planned trip, return in time to participate in the E.C. student retreat, and them leave on Tuesday March 22. We'll fly to Chicago, spend some time with family in Wheaton, and then move out to the Marion area at some point.
While Daniel is actively seeking jobs, we still have no idea what we'll be doing or where we'll live, but God is faithful and we are seeking His face in all of this!
We've enjoyed our time here both at JCS and E.C. and will miss the ministries, our friends, and the students. But we're also looking forward to be closer to our friends and family in the U.S.
Please pray for us as we make this transition. We are also hoping to attend a week long missionary de-briefing in May or August and will need to raise about $1500 for this (for the retreat and transportation).
Also, please have patience with us as it will take us some time to adjust to "changing countries!"
And if any of you want to understand a little more about what we'll be going through, we recommend reading this book (recommended both for those leaving missions and their close family and friends) :)
-The Petersons

Monday, February 07, 2011

Life Right Now/ Grains Part II/ Happy Anniversary/ Choose Title here _____

So many thoughts have been going through my mind lately. I’ve been writing, mostly in my journal, but rarely does my writing make it to my blog. Most likely this results from a combination of two things: I still have don’t internet frequently and when I do I avoid using the computer too much, as it usually occurs during time I’ve set apart for my children or taking care of my family.

That being said, here’s an update on life right now:

-Health: We tried a grain-free diet. Timmy started sleeping through the night (as in wake up for a 5:30 am feeding) for the first time ever! Hurray! Then we introduced wheat. He stopped sleeping well. We’ve tried to go back to no grains for him (and no wheat for me in case it’s a gluten intolerance) but things are still not back to where they were, though my going on a weekend retreat surely affected that. While on this diet, I noticed no change in Jer. He’s still gassy, complains about his tummy hurting, and has unhealthy looking stools. Then we found out he was being given crackers at school (oops). So our data for Jer is invalid. (BTW, we’ve stopped taking them to the doctor as stool samples reveal nothing and they just give us medication to give them based on guesses). So right now we’re going grain free with Timmy, and gluten free for all of us but Daniel.

-The boys: Timmy is talking more and still super active! He loves to play outside. Jer is beginning to sound out very simple words. His brain seems to be constantly going. He’s also been extremely tough and strong-willed lately which has resulted in a difficult week for us, but he still has a sensitive, affectionate heart, and almost always shows a desire to rebuild the relationship after discipline issues. We’re trying to train him in a way that both praises and awards obedience and good behavior, yet shows him that actions have consequences, while striving to demonstrate God’s character through it all. It has not been easy! I’ve had to ask his forgiveness on numerous occasions and do or say “three nice things” to him as we’re training him to do to us.

-Our Anniversary: Daniel and I just celebrated our 6th anniversary on January 29th. I was gone on a women’s retreat, but I left him notes and we had our anniversary date this past Saturday. We still enjoy looking at our wedding DVD (the highlights) and listening to the vows we recited. It’s a good reminder of what we promised each other!

-Women’s retreat: As I stated above, I recently attended a women’s retreat. This year’s theme was “Identity, Who do You say I am?” The teaching, small group, and individual time focused on who we are in Christ, as opposed to who the world says we are. What a wonderful reminder that, though my roles as wife, mother, daughter, occasionally teacher or tutor, friend are important, I am defined as God’s child, God’s daughter, chosen by God, loved by Him, His disciple, etc. I came home from the weekend refreshed and joyful.

-Future: Balancing a focus on the here and now, as well as looking ahead to the future has proved difficult. We continue to enjoy our ministry here, but it’s hard not to let ourselves get caught up in the future of moving to Indiana. We still do not know to where in Indiana we will be moving, but Daniel continues to search for jobs, and we continue to trust God for His guidance.

So, that’s where we are right now. Next week we accompany the girl’s house on a house trip to Samana. In early March, Daniel’s family (grandparents, parents, sister and an aunt) will fly in to Santo Domingo and we’ll spend time with them in the South East.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Grain-Free, week1

Our household is currently in the middle of a two week grain fast. Basically, we’re trying to figure out why we’ve had so many digestive problems lately. Instead of trying to be gluten free for a while, we just bit the bullet and decided to go grain free, as grains are often very difficult to digest. We’re also eating a good amount of yogurt, as we can’t find any good pro-biotics here.

So far, Jer has slept through the night each night, and Timmy has slept better, including one full night (first time in over a year)! I don’t know if it’s connected to our diet, but it’s at least interesting to observe.

So far, some food highlights are: potato pizza (a favorite of ours previously), shepherd’s pie, pastalon de platanos maduras (one of my favorite Dominican foods), peanut crusted baked chicken, lemon bars with a nut crust, pumpkin pancakes (using a tiny bit of bean flour we milled with our new grain mill) with yogurt-banana topping, salad with yogurt dressing and Greek olives, and salad with chicken and honey-lemon-garlic dressing. Fun snacks include: casaba (store-bought “crackers” made with 100% yucca, a root grown here), eggplant dip, roasted garlic, pumpkin seeds, hummus, potato skins, beef jerky, beet chips and batata chips.

And perfect timing- one of our banana trees is ready, so we have a plethora of green bananas to use in the place of potatoes or platanos. And when they ripen, we’ll enjoy them even more!

And tonight’s menu: roasted tomato-basil soup, chick-pea bread, Moroccan chicken and Moroccan eggplant salad

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Christmas 2010

Christmas this year was incredibly busy, but wonderful! It is difficult to believe that I’ve celebrated my last Christmas season in the Dominican Republic. Here’s a highlight of our activities:

-Sunday, December 19th: Dominican Baseball Game. Also our first time out with friends without the kiddos in a long, long time. I suppose I won’t be going to any more December baseball games any time soon…

-Monday, December 20th- E.C. Christmas caroling. We (two groups of students and staff) went around to a few houses (pre-arranged) singing Christmas carols (in Spanish, of course!). It was a wonderful way to ring in the Christmas week with community, singing, and snacks (each house shared treats with us). I came away feeling blessed and touched. The Dominican families that opened up their homes to us so clearly enjoyed hearing us singing carols. It was amazing to bring such joy to them through the simple act of singing.

-Wednesday afternoon, December 22nd- Christmas Dinner Bags The kiddos and I accompanied Daniel and the other education staff, along with the students to deliver food bags to families that would otherwise not have Christmas dinner. These are families with which E.C. has built long-term relationships. This experience absolutely blew me away and I felt so privileged to be a part of it. The first house we stopped at required a bit of a climb up the side of a mountain. The woman we met there had just recently lost her mom (who was normally with her to receive the food bags each Christmas). Daniel prayed for her and we sang some Christmas carols to her. We continued to deliver bags, sing carols, and visit with these amazing people. One family had a beautiful new baby, another family had a sweet, tender-hearted boy with (I’m guessing) down-syndrome. I was encouraged to hear that he attends Genesis, a school in town for children with disabilities, run by one of the ministries here. We saw such strength, love, and gratitude in these families, but also suffering and brokenness. My heart went out to them, and the silent prayers I offered seemed to come on their own accord. I will miss this country and the people here!

-Wednesday evening, December 22nd- my family arrived! Their plane was scheduled to arrive around 8:30 but in reality did not arrive until after midnight. After dropping my parents, brother, and sister-in-law off at the place they were staying (close to our house), I arrived home (after 2am) to a screaming baby and a tired, patient husband. We all attempted to sleep in the next morning!

-Thursday, December 23rd- visit to a coffee factory, Jeremiah had his first taste (and last for a while) of coffee. We had a wonderful Dominican lunch, rested in the afternoon (except Daniel, who worked), and attended the E.C. Christmas banquet that evening with good food and dancing.

-Friday, December 24th- Rehearsal for Christmas eve service, visit to a small community (we drove up towards the mountains, then walked down a path into the valley), Christmas eve service (in which both me, my dad, and my brother played the music for the Christmas cantata; Daniel sang with the cantata and Jeremiah was an angel for “Away in the manger.”), and Christmas eve dessert up at a staff’s house

Saturday, Dec. 25- Christmas! J

Sunday- church (we played again together), lunch, waterfalls, out to eat

Monday-Wednesday- trip to the beach. It rained much of the time, but we still enjoyed it

So, that was our Christmas business. We had a great visit with my family and it was wonderful to play music with my brother and dad. Of course, the Christmas season wasn’t all about “doing.” Each year we think about how we can better embrace the reason we celebrate- Christ’s coming! Both at our church and in our home we spent the month before Christmas going through Advent- preparation for Christ’s coming. Through bible readings and having a Jesse tree (we put up an “ornament” for each day to put on the tree along with a scripture reading that goes through the bible showing the preparation for Christ. Since we’re moving soon we used a paper tree and paper ornaments- Jer colored them and taped them to the tree on our bedroom door), we prepared our hearts for Christmas. Also, challenged by a blog I read, I thought of a specific gift I could give Christ each day (such as my praise, a joyful heart, etc.). And the older Jeremiah grows, the more he begins to grasp and understand the joy of Christmas!

And Christ truly is the reason to celebrate! I know many traditions are considered “secular, “ but without Christ’s coming, Christmas decorations and lights wouldn’t bring light to my heart and baking Christmas cookies to share with family and friends would have no meaning. It is Christ who gives me hope and brings joy to the little things I do.

Merry (belated) Christmas and Happy New Year!