February 28, 2012

Taste and see

"Taste and see that the Lord is good!"
So maybe the Psalmist did not intend for this verse to be about delicious cooking concoctions, but
I love food and I really love good food and I think God loves that I love food!
I believe He cares about our senses and seeing us so excited about the things we experience.
We were given the ability to feel so many textures. And there's the smell of garlic and bacon cooking or Anthropologie candles! And some people cry over a pretty harmony in a song or a beautiful sunset
(I could not take my eyes off this sunset, pretty amazing!) 
But for me, I cry over good food. Yes, I am having a little Pocahontas "Colors of the Wind" moment,
 But I think life is so much sweeter when we enjoy our senses.
I think that is why I enjoy traveling so much, because everything looks different, the language sounds different, there are definitely unique smells, and of course some interesting flavors. I am so aware of my senses which seems to makes life fuller and more beautiful.
So when flavors go so well together and there is the perfect blend of yummyness and texture, I have been known to shed a few tears. I am very happy that God decided to make cabbage, kale, basil, vanilla beans, tomatoes, and strawberries (to name a few).
He is the most creative Creator.
And thanks to Him, here are some creations Michael and I made over the last month:
Now go and enjoy whatever makes you happy cry! :) 

February 9, 2012

Christmas Creations

I have really struggled to make some diy posts after writing about Africa but I have accepted that I am where I am for this season. And I will continue to write about what brings me joy while I am in this stage of my life. 
Naturally my posts will shift as I become pregnant, possibly move overseas, enter into new seasons, but until then I will share yummy recipes and diy crafts.

So with that said, here are some gifts Michael and I created for Christmas:
1. A laptop case for Timothy, made out of a cool plaid skirt, some grey felt, and quilt batting.
I even added a pocket in the front for the charger. I really liked how it turned out!
2. Michael made a box for Evan's art supplies.
It has a little drawer in the top for brushes. 
Here they are at Christmas, Evan with his box and Michael with his sweet wine rack that Evan made. I love handy/crafty/creative men! (Oh and their new pj pants) 
3. I made a pen and ink piece of art for Sami and Jonathan. Michael created this beautiful frame.
The verse in the middle says:
"By wisdom a house is built,
and through understanding
it is established;
through knowledge its rooms are filled
with rare and beautiful treasures"
-Proverbs 24:3-4
I love lots of details and lines! I am really happy with it. 
4. I made a quilted picture book for my nephew Liam. 
The cover says "Who loves Liam?" and then I added 8 pages that say "Mommy loves Liam", "Aunt Merrill loves Liam", "Abi loves Liam", etc. 
I was going to create a diy blog with instructions on how to make it, but I decided there is no reason to reinvent the wheel. Here is Susan Weinroth's blog. She has great instructions. Her blog is actually the blog I stumbled across that led me to start quilting 2 years ago. 
What new crafty creations have you made recently? 

February 6, 2012

I Love Ethiopia!

I am finding it to be really difficult to put into words my experience in Africa. I still have not talked about Ethiopia at all! So here I go:
I think Ethiopia had such in impact on me because of the relationships I developed. We stayed in Addis Ababa the entire time so most of what we saw was dirty, brown, urban city. But I loved it! As one team member said, "It is like Lion King meets Aladdin" :) All of my African experiences have been in East Africa, in Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda. Although those countries do differ a little bit they are still very similar in landscape and culture. Ethiopia was nothing like that. It felt like being in the Middle East. 
We spent the majority of our team in Korah. Korah is a community that was originally a leper colony. It sits right next to a huge trash dump where many of the children and women make a living collecting trash. 
Because it is hard to put Korah into words, here are some blogs of past team members that went to Korah: Amanda, Elise, and Wynne. They do a better job than I do at describing their experience. 
This was a very special moment for the team: 
We broke into small groups and made house visits. This is Atenish. She lives in a one room house with her 3 children. Our team sat on a bench and her bed because that was all she had in her house. She invited us in for a traditional coffee ceremony. It was the best coffee I have ever had! She started with green beans that she roasted in front of us, then ground the beans and boiled it over a little stove top. She served it with a little sugar and some homemade popcorn. It was wonderful.

We spent time asking her questions about her life and family and she asked us questions. It was a very special and intimate time and we really got a taste of their culture. She will always have a special place in our hearts!
Here is our group with Atenish. The little girl in the blue sweater is her daughter, it was her birthday that day. 
On the second day we bough sheep to feed the kids. The children will only eat meat on special occasions and when teams like ours buy sheep. The experience that meant the most to me was spending the day in the back kitchen at Korah with the six cooks. I originally went back in the kitchen to get some water for a craft we were doing. They invited me to sit and drink some coffee so I did, thinking I would leave shortly after. Next thing you know I am cutting up the sheep that we bought the day before. My eyes were burning and watery from the heavy smoke but I decided I would get my hands dirty. I was stirring the stew, chopping meat, washing dishes and laughing a lot even though we could not say more than one word to each other. I learned how to say thank you in Amharic, that was about the only thing I could say to them :) But it was so special. And when it was time to leave we all cried. Normally teams come and see the kids but it is not everyday that they get people helping them in the kitchen.  The lady in the black dress next to me is named Lucy. She would say "thank you thank you thank you" and kiss my head. I love those women and I can't wait to go back and see them again.
This is what it is all about.