Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Monday, August 25, 2014

Badminton Blast

I’ve never been good at sports, and never been athletically inclined. I remember being goalie on homeschool soccer day and being bored out of my cleats because the soccer field was soooo long, and all the kids were always down at the opposite goal…

That’s a rabbit trail though.

Truth is I absolutely love playing badminton. Sometime a few years back, I discovered my racquet/birdie love during our family’s annual July 4th camping holiday.

Here at Nahumba we have a permanent net up in our yard. Last year, Heather and I dreamed of badminton, but when we looked at the prices of racquets in Lusaka, we buried our dreams. 


In May, Sara asked her sisters if they would send her badminton birdies from home with their brother who was traveling to a friend’s wedding in South Africa in June. In June, Sara rendezvoused with her brother at the wedding in South Africa, and brought the birdies- safely packed in her hiking pack- home on the bus. In July, we visited Sara’s parents in Malawi. Before they left home to collect us at the border, they packed their badminton racquets to give us. We carried the racquets- wrapped in a plastic bag and tied with pink ribbon- home on the plane.

And, ever since then we’ve been playing badminton. We wait until the day is ending and the wind dies down, and then we play away until the sun sinks and we can no longer see the birdie.

It’s grand.
So fun and relaxing.

The Lord gives good gifts (sometimes racquets and birdies!) to His children.

PS- If you’re nice, and if you like badminton too, and if you stop by some afternoon once the wind is calm and before the sun sets… we might share a racquet and let you join the fun.

Sunday, August 24, 2014


“My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of Him who sent me.”
(John 4:34)

Saturday, August 23, 2014


Figured I had better post something not tea related and not hosting related… lest you think all we do is drink tea and host parties!


If only.

Here are a few other recent happenings:
  • attending sessions at our church’s annual general conference
  • piloting a new accounting system for the mission
  • working with a major project with ZMW and USD exchange rates, and…
  • taking two of our vehicles for their annual fitness examinations
Baby Bertha

our older Isuzu double cab
Perhaps you'll enjoy the tale (and hopefully some chuckles!) from my recent morning with RTSA (Road Safety and Transportation Authority), ensuring Bertha and the older Isuzu were road worthy:

“Which person are you following?” a gentleman asked. There was a muddled “queue” of us crowded behind the RTSA service windows waiting to pay for road tax, carbon tax, license items, and vehicle fitness testing.

In all the shuffle of the disorganized mess of people I realized I lost track of which shirt was in front of me when I arrived, and I now had no idea which person I was following or preceding.

Oh brother.

It only took twenty-ish minutes before it wound up being my turn to hand over vehicle documents and pay for fitness examinations. As I stepped up to the counter, a hand shot over my shoulder from behind and pushed something in front of me. The gal at the counter kindly ignored his pushy-ness and attended to me.

Once the proper papers were printed, I went outside to wait another twenty-odd minutes for my turn to display Bertha and the old Isuzu. The examiner- Isaac- was busy checking other vehicles. Eventually, Isaac finished with the other vehicles and headed to ours.

Directional indicators, hooter, triangles, jack, brakes, reverse lights, high beams….
Check. check. check.

“This one has passed,” Isaac informed me, pointing to the Isuzu. “But this one,” [oh, Bertha… not again…last year she failed fitness because her high beams were not working] “needs two items fixed.” [sigh.]

Thankfully, I was able to prove that the first item didn't need to be repaired, as it was in fine working order… just, odd working order (one brake light is at the top of the rear light pattern; the other brake light is at the bottom of the light pattern).

Bertha's rear lights.
In the words of Dr. Surfield: "Which one's not like the others?"

The second item: new windscreen wipers.
Isaac was gracious; all I had to do was get the new blades installed and return for Bertha’s “pass” card.

I maneuvered Bertha down the way to Choma Garage. It only took a few minutes to purchase new wiper blades. BUT- it took at least twenty minutes of sitting in a mess of cars just to squeeze out of the filling station pad onto the main street. Sara and I have declared Choma Garage MHGFAP (Most Hideous Garage For Access & Parking).

[I was not a happy camper, er, bus driver. Mr. fruit-seller from across the street even stopped by and tried to console me, insisting, “Madam, just don’t be sad... because this is just how it is..." It really was sweet of him to take note of me and not just push his sales, but I was still exasperated.]

Bertha's new blades. whahoo.

Eventually I made it back to RTSA. I waited in another queue for another twenty minutes.
Isaac passed Bertha and the Isuzu.
Back to the counter, then on to the manager’s office, and finally back out to Isaac for one more final signature.

We were free to go. Bertha and the Isuzu were declared road-worthy for one more year. Thanks be to God.

I was exhausted, though the whole ordeal probably only took about two hours.

Friday, August 22, 2014

High Tea (take II)

Remember how Sara and I went for high tea at the Royal Livingstone in April? 
And then we came home inspired and hosted our own high tea?

Well… while we were celebrating Christmas, we decided another high tea was in order. We made a guest list, and invited our friends… and… one had a kitchen party, one didn’t respond, one was out of town, one had a funeral…

We invited more friends.

we were busy in the kitchen ALL morning

figured I should post these pictures just in case you think our kitchen doesn't get messy!
If our oven could talk, it might moan about how many hours we made it work on Saturday.

orange cranberry scones (made with yoghurt)
you might remember the recipe

We decided to go all-out with our goodie-making, and didn’t repeat any dishes from our last high tea event.

Sara's amazing, paper trees!

these flowers- from our garden- were absolutely stunning

In addition, Sara wanted to teach me how to make ChristmasCrackers, and we decided a little charade game with a gift exchange would be fun too.

It was a great way to spend our Saturday morning—mixing, rolling, beating, shaping, baking, etc., – all the while enjoying Christmas music! Then, it was a great way to spend our afternoon-- good company, treats, and special memories. Our guests seemed to enjoy the party as well.

Oh- for those who are curious, here’s the menu:

Orange cranberry [thank you, Tia!] scones
Apple pie with crumb topping
Pumpkin pie (I used coconut oil for the crust for both pies)
Mini oatmeal muffins with cinnamon sprinkles
Chocolate mint cake bites (drizzled in chocolate)
Gingerbread and sugar cookies from the kids’ cookie party the day before

Naan roll-ups with yoghurt cheese and basil pesto
Naan chips and fresh veggies with guacamole
Mini stuffing cups sprinkled with macadamia nuts (so yum!)
Bitty cheese and bacon scones

PS- On the way to the afternoon cookie deco party, one of our little friends remarked: “Today is kids’ day at Sara and Julie’s; tomorrow is mommies’ day; and then…. Monday will be the daddies’ day!” hahaha! Instead of hosting a Daddies’ Christmas Party, Sara and I just made sure to send a few leftovers home for the guys ;) ;)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Bush Break

Sara and I stopped for tea in the bush on the way home from Sikalongo last week. Unfortunately, our thermos wasn’t adequately sealed for the jostling bush ride, and by the time we stopped, all the hot water had dumped out on Amos’s carpet!

However, the chocolate and scones were still intact :)

Good times.

Sara even packed a daisy for our "table"!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Merry, Merry, Merry...

...Christmas in July August!

Admittedly, we love celebrations ‘round here.

It was Sara who suggested Christmas in July. 
Having grown up in the northern hemisphere, I associate Christmas with cold season 
(which is not December in this part of the world!), and I thought Sara's idea was splendid.
I’ve spent two Christmases at Nahumba, but Sara hadn’t been here for one (and won’t be here this coming Christmas either). We decided to have Christmas together here at Nahumba.

July flew by… the first half I spent working double time with work and trip prep, and the second half I spent with Lusaka errands, regional retreat, and holiday… getting back home just in time to dive in to month-end responsibilities.

We opted to postpone Christmas In July until August.

I’ve never seen the house look so festive! 
One bonus for having off-season Christmas is the opportunity to borrow your friend’s unused Christmas decorations ;). Yep, we borrowed a mini fake tree, tiny lights, and some bitty ornaments!

We listened to Christmas music as we draped lights and arranged the nativity on the mantel one evening. 
Then we sat by the fire and drank hot cocoa.

Sara made a lovely gingerbread dough, and I mixed a double batch of sugar cookie dough

As part of our Christmas celebration, we invited a handful of neighborhood kids for an afternoon cookie decorating party. Boy was it a party! Food coloring, sugar, and cookies—what’s not to love?!

According to our rough calculations, we baked over ten dozen cookies. The kids had a blast icing and decorating, as well as rolling and eating(!) cookies. And, though neither Sara nor I are ready to sign on as daycare assistants or kindergarten teachers, we had a lot of fun too.

she had a BLAST

and he... took home his plate of cookies...
and ate.the.entire.pile! (yikes!)

most important question of the day:
when can i eat some cookies???

(I knew I could relate a cookie decorating party to accounting somehow...)

this gal is a kitchen pro-- you should see her use a rolling pin!

we even had an elf at this party!

After all the short people left with their cookie bags, I sat down and squeezed the remaining icing onto the few leftover cookies, sprinkling them with colored sugar and dotting them with chocolate chips and cinnamon red hots. What fun.

hurrah for Christmas in August!

(Oh- and just in case you’re concerned about our cookie consumption around here, be assured we gifted the cookies away. Two days later, there was not even a trace of our kitchen ever having 
produced so many little sweet treats.)