Thursday, January 26, 2012

Out of Africa with the Four J's

When we came out of Africa with our kids, Janna, Jessi, Jared and Jacob, we came with lives that had been made so rich by people, experiences and the culture. We were different in so many ways. We were better people for having lived there. My husband taught at a small Christian college in Ukpom, Abak, Akwa-Ibom State, Nigeria, West Africa. Altogether we lived there 5 years. There were some great adventures during those years and we found many things to love.
One of the things we took out of Africa was our taste and longing for African foods - oh my, there were some really, really good-eats!  We love pounded yam, moi-moi, suya, fufu or garri and okra soup and we love stew, beans, rice and fried plantain. (one of my very favorites was ekpang nkwukwo ... I'd love to sit down to a plateful!)

Here in Honduras I can't get ingredients I need for a lot of our favorite international foods but I try. I made Nigerian stew, beans, rice and fried plantain for our lunch today - a little taste of Africa in Honduras - pure yummy-ness!
you need oil, stew beef, tomatoes, onions, tomato paste, beans, rice and ripe plantain
I like to use fresh peppers - here is a little one that was in our yard
I typically use my rice cooker - love it!
rice, beans and topped with stew ... plantains are a must!
Nigerian Stew
1 lb. stew beef cut into bite size pieces
2-3 chopped tomatoes
1 med. onion sliced 
1 small can tomato sauce
hot fresh pepper to your taste
salt and black pepper to taste
2-3 tablespoons palm oil

Heat palm oil until it is 'burned off' (til smoking stops), add meat and cook until nicely browned, add  other ingredients, plus 1 1/2 cup water. Simmer until tomatoes and onions are tender.
**Cook rice your usual way - we usually cook 2 1/2 cups of white rice. 
**Cook your beans as you would normally as well. Here in Honduras I use their local red bean but in Nigeria it'd be more likely to be like our black-eyed peas - so, whichever you prefer.
**Fried plantain ... choose firm, ripe plantain -- even if it's dark and spotted like mine it's still good --
cut off ends, then in half, and slice into strips about 1/4 inch, fry quickly in hot oil just until nicely brown on each side. 

There you have it ... a good African meal ... Enjoy!!
P.S. Talked with our oldest daughter a little while ago and she sure did want to join us for lunch. She made me promise next time we're stateside we'll get all we need to cook up some good Nigerian food! 
Today I am sharing with D her gang on the Shady Porch and enjoying my time with Miss Jenny at her AlphabeThursday.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Fresh Starts

I love fresh starts, new beginnings ... the chance to start over is sometimes welcomed and that's kind of what we get to do when a new year rolls around. However, I hardly said “hello” to January and we're already in the last chapter. I am seriously hoping the rest of the year is a little  slower, in control, purposed … I don't know exactly what I mean but I do know I want to
  1. live my word “believe”
  2. start on some very needed home projects
  3. develop a better routine for daily living
    - for my personal Bible study and writings
    - for my arts and crafts projects
    - for my classes with the kids in the neighborhood
    - for my Sunday evening class with the kids
    - for my study of Spanish
  4. and live abundantly every single day.
I don't have that in any particular order, just stuff on my mind. Sometimes I get weary of being so busy and it's hard to imagine adding one more thing to my life, but I probably waste more time than I realize. I don't want to be overly strict with myself … only lay down some guidelines. I realized today I don't even have a 2012 calendar up yet so will probably print one off today. I usually buy several from the $ stores stateside but didn't have the opportunity to do that!
Before we leave January I'll hopefully be writing a couple of more notes but in case I get side-tracked let me just share: 
January's flower is the Carnation.
 Some folks don't appreciate the carnation- maybe because it can be 'over-used' but I guess I just love all flowers - isn't this pink one pretty?


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Inspiration Word 2012 ...

A few years ago I wrote a note on my other blog about a theme word of the year ... that particular year I chose Serendipity! You can read about it here. Last year my word was "fallow" - it actually started out as a Wednesday's Word and stuck in my heart and mind til it became the theme of my journey - where I had been, and where I was going. 

So I was browsing around a few of the blogs I try to keep up with this morning I ran across Aimee at It's Overflowing and saw her note My 2012Inspiration Word - I didn't know other people had word themes for their years ... and I followed her link to here "Word of theYear" and lo and behold! over 300 bloggers are coming up with their own theme word! You have to read Ali's story and her expansion of not just choosing a word but living it out - it's great.
Now, I have all these new thoughts and ideas about 
what to do with my own word. I think it's going to be amazing – 
well, amazing is not my word but how it will evolve through the year knowing I want to concentrate on it and LIVE this word. 
I want to follow through, all year long and 
really make things happen in my life.
For the past little bit my life has been dormant, resting, 
surely being enriched but 
now the seeds have been planted and I'm ready.
My word is amazing because with this word anything and 
all things marvelous can happen … 
you just have to ... 

 Matthew 21:22
If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”
Mark 9:23
“‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”

The Lettered Cottage
and I have to go visit The Shady Porch because, well, Danette just has the best parties ever! 
and well, WFW is something I've loved for a long time and today, it seems appropriate! 
and of course on Thursdays I hang out at Jenny Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday and her letter just happens to be *I* ... perfect!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

It's Not Always Easy ...

Nope, it's not always easy to get back in the swing of things. Sometimes it takes a little special prompting and it may be that prompting doesn't come in the best form. For me, today it's being forced to just be still ... with the exception of doing a few meaningful exercises. Yep, I now have a more genuine empathy for those who have suffered with back aches ... I twisted just the wrong way flipping on a light switch and man oh man, I have been out of commission for 2 days now. Thankfully, hubby has a list of excellent back exercises he has used and I will start them soon. For just right now, I am being still and am using this time to open up my gmail and blog accounts to do some 'catch-up' with folks.
These past few weeks have been busy with others things demanding time on the mission field so, I wasn't able to do but the minimal amount on the internet ... that meant staying in touch with family only.
But, hey, I'm excited about being back.
First of all I want to share a post I saw this morning by Kim at seventhirtythree ... I love it!
"She believed she could so she did."
 Yes, I needed that ... hope it inspires you as well, for what ever you may be going through or dreaming of. 
And next I want to share this from my friend Sam ... every so often we just need a little encouragement to 'get 'er done' and I have putting off some hot spots in my home for too long... Sam's in the middle of a 52 week project - check her out.
There's some other good things going on ... always is, but for now just one more note that I want to share. My daughter has a new blog in honor of her new adventure in life - it worth a visit and a follow! Fostering Love and Hope - the name says it all - starting their journey as foster parents.
And while I was MIA some great things happened in my life ...
this is one of my best friends, Rosa - I got to help her and 4 other ladies cook for our holiday dinner at church - an afternoon of FUN!
on the 26th hubby, Jake and I headed to Placencia, Belize to get our 90-day extensions - it was a great spot to celebrate our 33rd wedding anniversary!
here, hubby snapped a picture Jake and me ... Shawn, our guide, is taking us out to Silk Caye for a day of snorkeling - beautiful awesome coral, fishes, sea turtles, and even sharks!
we had our first dental/vision brigade come this last week - 4 great days of serving in a small mountain village
Which brings me up to now ... with me down with this back of mine. Did some exercises but know it'll be a few days before I'm back to normal. In the meantime, the heating pad and advil are helping out just fine!