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Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Years

It is NEW YEARS DAY here in PNG and we are on our way to the village to goto church and have a meal with a friend and his family. When I say family here it does not mean nuclear family, it generally means everyone that you can think of that is in any way related to you... Any way in honor of the oddity that is New Years I have posted a picture of Mae holding the strangest carrot that I have ever seen. I bought it at the market yesterday. It was in a pile with a bunch of other carrots.
(put some pants on that carrot!!!)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Give it Away

      Ok, so I (matt) have been tagged in. This whole idea of the wantok system and askims is very interesting. Yesterday tiff told you that wantoks are people that speak the same language as you and this is very true especially when you are in your own region of the country. When you are outside your region of the country then your wantok is anyone who is from a village that is close to yours. So, when you are in your "asplace" (they say the place your rear end first touched the ground) people from the next village may be your enemy but when you are in another region in the country that same person is your wantok because you are neighbors. I taked to two men who live in Port Moresby (the capitol city) for whom this is the case.


     So, you are  obligated to help your wantoks if they ask you. If you have something (money, food, housing, ect.) that they need then you have to give it to them. One of the simplest and most vivid examples of this that i can think of is a time that Kundok and I went to a patch of mango baui trees that he had ontop of the mountain. It was about an hour and a half walk to get there. We picked a hand of these buai (about 20 pieces) and began to walk back. It is worth noting that a mango buai gets its name because it is the size of a small mango  (4 times the size of a normal baui) and are very prized for this reason. As is usual with most trips of this nature in PNG we did not take the shortest route there and chose an even longer route home because he wanted to visit his sister's garden. Along the walk back we encountered several groups of people from our village each of who asked if he had any baui. Each time he reached into his bilum and gave each person one of these mango buai. We got to the garden and sat down and ate some of stuff that they had picked out of the garden and cooked on the fire. His sisters and one of their husbands asked for buai, from which he freely gave again. I should say that he also asked for some produce for our family and for him and we left with so much that we had to borrow another bilum from them to carry it. We passed more people on the way home and they asked and he gave. By the time we got back to the village and he didn't have any left. He only chewed one or two pieces and the rest he gave away. But by the same token I have seen him ask plenty of times and people give to him without hesitation.

{Rita (Kundok's sister) and Rolins (Matthew's friend)}

     The other word I used earlier was "askim". It is usually called "askim tasol". This is simply when someone who is not your wantok whom you don't have a relationship with asks you for something. It is not a big deal to them if they get it or not -they are just trying. The easiest example of this is when I get at least one text a week on my cell phone asking for 1 or 2 two kina to be transfered to thier phone. I have no idea who they are and don't reconize the numbers. This is a culturally acceptable thing to do and sometimes people will give it to you but you are then obligated to them too.


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Market

{Ikey at the market}

the market in Songum reminds me of children playing store. i don't think anybody really makes a profit. and i don't think making money is the point. it's more for fun than anything. the customers are your neighbors (and visitors from Yonglum, the closest villiage to Songum). they give away as much as they sell.
if, for instance, my children really wanted some peanuts but didn't have 20 toya the lady selling peanuts would give them a 20 toya coin so that they could "buy" nuts from her. or the boys selling mangoes would remember that Si really loves mangoes so they  would slide a mango in Sisi's bilum as he walked by.

{selling buai at Songum market}

the reason for this is that it is not culturally appropriate to get ahead by making money on your "wantok"or one talk-meaning people who speak the same language (wantok has other meanings too). also culturally if you have somthing that someone else wants or needs and they ask for it you have to give it away...
i'm getting off subject now- i'll cover more on giving in PNG later...


Sunday, December 26, 2010

drum oven

{dough rising on our "kitchen counter"}

one of my favorite memories of villiage life was teaching the Songum ladies how to bake bread in a drum oven. a drum oven is a homemade contraption made of sheet metal and such. [matt of course made ours]

{finished bread in the drum oven}

i knew i had truly been accepted into villiage life when my poro (friend) from next door told me that we were going to make bread and sell it at the market. it was an ENORMOUS hit. we sold half of it before we even got to the market. the rest sold out in 5 minutes.

{selling our bread in the market}

my friend, Beti decided that a fair price for 1/2 a slice of bread with margerine would cost 20 toya (around 7 cents US). our total after selling out was around 6 kina or $2 US which we split between us. the market is obviously not a money making event..
more on that next time~


Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas from PNG

(bilums hung by our fireplace waiting on Santa)

   I know for most of you it is still Christmas Eve but it is Christmas day for us so Merry Christmas. We hung our bilums on the mantle this year and guess what, Santa still came and filled them up. Thanks to all of you who made this first PNG Christmas special for us. My PNG friend Paul is going to come over later and then we are going to eat with some friends from the states. Have a blessed day. Happy birthday Jesus!!!


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Statement of clarification

I feel like I need to make a little clarification about the story below after reading through. The Christians in this story are not representative of all Christians in Papua New Guinea. There are Christians here for which syncratism is not an issue (even in this village). And again these folks do not yet have a Bible in their heart language which makes deeper level Christianity more difficult.

The Spirits of the Water

     Alright this is kind of a difficult one to explain but it is so critically important in understanding spirituality in Papua New Guinea and syncratism in general. As many of you have heard most of us got a pretty nasty rash shortly after we got to the village, some of us (Tiffany) worse than others. I wish I could show you the pictures of her rash but I promised not to. The rash went on getting worse for about a week. The nurse from the training center was supposed to be coming to visit in another 5 days or so. So we were trying to hold out.
     But someone in the village noticed first and we became the topic of much discussion and inspection. There were two trains of thought as to what the problem was. The first was that there is a grass that grows beside the water called pitpit and it has very fine needles on it. When it rained the water would come up washing the needles off the pit pit along with other irritants (aka. masong) and then we would bathe in the masong and get this nasty rash. The other line of thought was that the spirits of the water didn't like us because we were new and they were causing the rash. I should mention at this point that there were some other white skins from our training class bathing in the same river about 1.5K down river and they were not having any problems.
    Finally, the oldest man in the village (wasmama's father)(pictured below) came to see for himself. After a short examination he decided to go with the spirits in the water. His speech was very slurred and my tok pisin was very bad at this point so I did not understand this. He quickly decide on a remedy that involved some counter magic (which I didn't understand either) and plants.
(Me and the oldest man in the village)
   I should also say that I don't believe that this man or wasmama were Christians. Neither one of them would even go near the church and they would disappear when the pastor came around. But some of the people that helped with what I am about to describe were Christians and here in lies the problem.
     We thought that he was doing some basic bush medicine with locally available plants (this is often very effective) but it turned out to be more than that. First he got one of the young men to cut the plant from the bush and bring it to him. He broke off a small piece and began to mumble to it in his tok place so I was not able to understand him, even if my tok pisin was better. Then he gave the piece to the young man who passed it around our heads. He spoke to it again. And then instructed the young man to chew it up and spit it on us in a fine mist. He did this then, the old man rubbed it in. And the whole thing was done. If you are interested it didn't help at all.
    So the real problem here was not that they thought that the spirits of the water were doing this to us. I believe that this is a real possibility, especially since the people down river were not effected at all. You see they believe that these spirits are very localized and they live under certain rocks in certain areas. The pit pit idea is also very plausible and I saw the needles myself. The real problem is where they believe power resides. Do you believe that these spirits are more powerful than the God that you claim to serve and so you have to revert to ancestral magic to try to control them. Or do you believe that the God that you serve is more powerful than anything that Satan can throw at you and that he hears and answers your prayers. This is where having the Bible in your heart language is so valuable, where its transformational effects can be truly experienced in a persons day to day life.
    This is getting really long but we left the village for a few days, bathed in rain water while we were gone, and prayed. We got better. When we returned to the village we brought drinking water up to the house for Tiffany, Silas and Evie to bathe in. The rest of us continued to bathe in the river and we all got better. Praise be to God.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Water and Life- 3

{children playing in the water}

So to finish up the water theme i want to tell you about bathing and washing dishes and laundry in the river...
i am speaking from the female perspective here. to bathe you first gather your laplap (an all-pupose peice of material), clean clothes, dirty laudry, soap (if you are lucky enough to have some-most PNGers don't), dirty dishes and pots, your children and usually a few friends and head down to the water. women and children usually bathe in the "clos tu wara". the hard part about bathing as a woman is that you must remain covered (at least from the waist down) at all times. you stratigically remove your clothing and wrap yourself in the laplap, then you wash all around and under the laplap and try not to lose the soap in the current (which we did on several occasions)- all the while you are chatting with friends and the children are playing in the river. our "waswas" place was right beside a main thouroughfare so you may chat with passersby too. it's very much a social activity.

{our waswas place}

dish washing is, of course, also a social affair. the women take great pride in the cleanliness of their pots. your pots must shine. i mean on the outside, like mirrors. when cooking is done over an open campfire this is not an easy feat. sand is used as an abrasive and a certain leaf that works better than steel wool or anything else is used instead of soap.

laundry is done with a type of bar soap (when available). it is soaped up in a basin and then scrubbed by hand with a brush. it is always double rinsed and wrung out then carried home and hanged to dry.

{our clothesline}

interesting info on the Spirit of the water from matt next...

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Water and Life- part 2

   Well, we got you to the water in the last installment. That was really just the beginning. Next you must fill up all the bottles and containers that you brought, without putting your feet in the spring and without stirring up the silt in the bottom of the pool. There is definitely a science to it and and Mae had it down pat (pictured below).
{filling water containers}

   Now the hard work begins. All the full bottles are loaded into a bilum. The the girl (Mae in this case) places the strap on her head and walks back with it. This load could easily weight 70lb. And you have to cross a stony river 3 times. It is an amazing and difficult task that is preformed everyday by countless PNG girls and now Mae too. I did not even see where our water came from until we had been there for two weeks. The women and girls in PNG (and mine by extension) are some of the toughest hard working people that you will ever meet.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Water and life- Part 1

   Water is such a vital part of life for every person in the world. For those of us in the West it is easy to forget how nice it is to just turn on the faucet and get clean safe drinking water without going anywhere. Today I wanted to show you what it is like to get water EVERY DAY in a village in PNG. I'm sure Tiffany has told you already but almost every job that is done in PNG has a gender. The job of getting water is female. Most of the time it falls on the girls in the family. Very early on in our stay they told Mae to get our water containers and go with the other girls to get the water. I (Matt) helped Mae some, but when I did all the people would snicker and stare. So more often that not it was either Mae and the girls or Mae and Tiffany.
    There was a river within a five minunite walk of our house but this water was used for bathing and washing dirty dishes and clothes, so the water was not drinkable. The drinking water came from a spring that was about a 15 minunite walk from our house. Below are a series of pictures that show Mae walking with a bilum (string bag) full of water bottles to the spring.
(leaving the village)
(the trail beside the river)
(the first of 3 river crossings)
(almost there)
   As you can see this is quite a walk there. It is also incredibly hot living on the equator so you have to drink a ton of water. The more you walk, the more you sweat, the more water you need, it is a visious cycle. What you see Mae carying is not even all the water we need for a day. I was also carrying 2- 2.5 gallon water bottles. Once you get to the water there is a strict procedure observed by evey member of the village to keep the drinking water clean. There is a lot more to say about this so I will continue it tommrow.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

One Last Kai Kai

   I can't resist one last story about the mumut. So this little guy was quickly becoming part of our family and I was quickly trying to figure out how I was going to break it to Mae that we would not be able to take it back with us. The guy who was over POC told us that we could not bring any pets back. One morning Mae got up (late as usual) and started yelling at her brothers. She was accusing them of taking her mumut out of the box it slept in. You must understand a house in PNG is a pretty porous thing. Doors don't actually close and your bedroom may actually be open to a veranda outside. We soon discovered that it was not the boys who had taken the mumut but wasmama's cat. Well, everybody in the village got a big kick out of that, my problem with getting rid of the thing was solved, and Mae was not too upset. So I thought everything was good to go.
   The morning we were leaving we looked over to waspapa's oldest son's house (right next door) and saw them cooking something big. It was in fact the cat. So we asked them what was up with that and they said that it ate Mae's mumut several weeks earlier so they killed it.  Oh yea and as a side note they added Waspapa's son was butchering a goat the day before for our sing sing(more on that later) and the cat kept getting at the goat so he finally got fed up with it and hit it with an axe.
   As I said meat is very valuable in the village so instead of waisting it they decided to cook it and eat it. None of them had ever eaten cat before. But they said it's face was similar to a mumut so it would probably be good. Thank goodness we left before it was finished. I didn't want to eat that thing.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

PNG kaikai- two mumuts

   OK, this is Matt again. I guess that I am going to do another installment of PNG kaikai. So this is the story of two mumuts (not really translatable, see pictures). The first mumut was a cute little thing (pictured below) that was given to Mae as a pet. It was really a calm little thing, the ideal pet in a lot of ways. They played with it during the day and it slept in a box in their room at night.
   But the real story is how we got it. A couple of days before I went to the garden with a friend named Koondok. While we were there we set some traps. They were like you see in the cartoons with the bent over tree and the loop laying on the ground. For all of you who always wondered if they actually work I am happy to say that they do. So I wasn't too surprised when Koon (short for Koondok) showed up at our house a couple of days later with this baby mumut and he gave it to Mae. Tiffany however was not around when we set the traps so it was a little more surprising for her. But he was a cute little guy and totally tame so she was happy to take it.
   However there is more to the story. I was also not surprised that there was another larger one. I looked at the bilum (bag they wear) around his neck and knew there was something big in it. Tiffany was busy looking at the little mumut and had not noticed his bilum until all at once he pulled a massive dead mumut out of it ( the size of a large house cat) and presented it to her about 4 inches away from her nose. Surprise!!!!! Meat is one of the most valuable gifts that you can give someone in the village so this was something that was very special and Tiffany hardly blinked an eye accepting it very graciously not quite knowing what to do with it.
   Luckily a little girl from next door swooped in quickly and proceeded to make a little fire where she burnt all the hair off of it (pictured above). Next our waspapa showed up and he started cutting it up ( pictured below).
   Sometime between the time when he started cutting it up and when it was finished cooking everybody but me and Silas snuck off to bed. Their loss right! We had a feast with waspapa and wasmama. Yes, it was very good. Silas couldn't get enough, he even ate the liver. More on the other mumut tomorrow.

Monday, December 13, 2010


we were awakened early every morning by sunbeams shining through the morota. it felt like the Glory of the Lord was shining in on us...

{sunbeams through morota}

"Now, the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, he gives freedom. And all of us have had the veil removed so that we can be mirrors that brightly reflect the glory of the Lord. And as the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like Him and reflect His glory even more."
(2 corinthians 3:17,18)

Sunday, December 12, 2010


OK, here are two pictures of some of the bamboo I carved. the one on the left is the nambis style (this is another style where it stays green and you die it. I sent the white one I did to someone in the States) the other is the highlands style. It is hard to take a picture of round bamboo so sorry.
(left-bird of paridise, right- sea turtle)
(left- buai tree, right- seahorse)

Working with my hands

OK this is Matt. Tiff wanted me to post something today so here it is. I am going to depart from the PNG kaikai but don't worry she will do more on that soon and there is lots more to say. I am sure that most of you know that I am happiest when my hands are busy. While we were in the village they taught me how to make all sorts of things but the thing that I enjoyed working on the most was carving bamboo. In the lowlands ( they call it the "nambis" -beach) where we did our village living, they have a distinct style where they carve pictures into green bamboo. Then they coat it with coconut grease straight out of the tree. Finally, you cook it in a fire then let it dry in the sun. The finished product is a beautiful white piece of bamboo which has images carved into it.
( carving bamboo nambis style)
When we got to the highlands I noticed that they had  a totally different style. All the bamboo was brown and it looked more like it was etched and shaded. So  I decided to ask one of the guys that was selling it how he did it. He explained it to me and I told him how we did in at the nambis and of course he told me that was all wrong. The next time I went to the market I brought one that I had made in village living to show him. He liked what I had made but he said he was going to teach me to do it "right" and then he presented me with a piece of bamboo that he had already prepared and told me to scratch an image on it and bring it back to him to look at. I didn't know it at the time but this was a test. He was happy with what I made so he said he was going to show me how to prepare the bamboo and how to make a number of other crafts. Yesterday we went to the river near his house and while the kids played in the water I received my first lesson (pictured below.) It is amazing and wonderful how God opens up doors through natural giftings that he has given each of us. One last thing Paul (the highlands man pictured below) said the next thing that I made he was going to sell in the market. He said that no one would believe that a "white skin" had made it so he wanted me to sign it! I am loving it here, thanks everyone for helping us to be obedient to the calling on our lives.
(Paul and I preparing bamboo)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Bananas in th Mornin', Bananas in the Evenin', Bananas at Supper Time

(PNG Kaikai)
this is referring to the foods of the nambis area, in the lowcountry. highlands food and climate is much different...

{boiled bananas}

Breakfast usually consists of boiled or fire roasted banana, fire roasted taro, or fire roasted corn, sometimes a coconut/papaya porridge -basically anything you can quickly throw on the fire and eat so you can make it to the garden before it gets too hot. We did bring a couple boxes of cereal and homemade granola with powdered milk. But once the cereal ran out it was bananas a-plentay (with the occasional pineapple).

getting to the garden is a serious hike. what i mean is that the "clos tu" garden is a mile and a half walk crossing two rivers. the women with small children and babies usually work the close to garden, while the men go "an tap", or WAAAY on top or a mountain. i never went on top because of my brood.
[i'll let darlin' companion post on that another time]
women typically carry bilums (handmade string bags) full of firewood, veggies from the garden, water containers, etc., plus their babies- all on their heads.
 The people will tell you that they only eat twice a day and that lunch is "pasin b'long waitman" (the way of white folks), but every time i was with them around midday they stop working and make a fire to cook whatever is handy- things like kulau (young coconut), taro, always banana, cucumber, kaukau.
then everybody takes a nice long "malalo" (rest).
these people, although their life expectancy is only 54ish are extremely fit. their days are filled with hard work and "gutpela malalo".

[more on kaikai tommorrow]


Thursday, December 9, 2010


i kiss you all starry eyed
my body sways from side to side
i don't see what anyone sees in anyone else
but you

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

You Know How We Be

{oh, the love}

just want to give a quick family update...
if you know us personally or have been following us for a while you know that we are nomadic by nature. so, true to form, we will be moving again in mid january back to nobanob in Madang (God willing). we will take over temporarily as center managers of POC (pacific orientation course), the training center for new missionaries in PNG.
we're excited to be back in the lowlands fo a while, helping to train newbies, and spending time with some wonderful national friends.
Will you pray for us? we are back in full swing with homeschool-
this is my first experience schooling three at once (4th, 1st, & k) plus a preschooler and toddler...
thank you for all of your love and support!
BIG LOVE to you and yours.
xo tiff

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Nau Yu Toktok

The people of Songum did not have a written language until 2005. They now have the book of Jonah in Sam (pronounced 'som' with a short vowel). There is a Wycliffe translator working on the book of Genesis and Luke now. He and his family live several villiages away from Songum with a people group who also speak Sam. [they are currently on furlough]
{storying with the young men}

The culture here is very much an oral one. Storying is the main pastime. Every night after we put the children to bed we would go outside to story. These people LOVE anything new you can tell them...We were bombarded every day with "nau yu stori! yu toktok!" (you story now, you talk).
Buai is always involved in story time, as is brus (tobacco). the people get their buai and settle in, they will listen and talk all night if you're game.
one thing i noticed right away about these people is how they have not lost empathy. when you tell them any thing they feel it with you. they are connected to one another and the land. there are no starving among them. no homeless. They take care of one another. they need one another.
it was nourishing to be a part of.
i am different now.

[tommorrow i want to update you on our family]

Monday, December 6, 2010

Buai Makes the World Go Round

Buai (aka beetle nut) is a green nut that grows on top of a tall straight tree. It is MAJORLY important in the culture of the lowlands people of PNG. NO event is complete without it. I beleive it is considered a mild stimulant. The people will tell you that there are two types of buai. there is good buai and buai i gat spak. there is no way to tell the difference until you kaikai (chew it). i have gotten a hold of both types and though there is much debate among missionaries on the evils/importance of buai (it has a definate addictive nature)we decided that this is a very direct inroad to the people. When people kaikai buai together it signifies they are of wan bel (one heart/mind). So although we tried it only twice each at importanat times, we kept a little on hand for visitors etc.
{big bunch of buai at the bride price ceremony}

in order for buai to be effective it is chewed with a piece of daka (a small green pepper) dipped in kumban (lime made of seashells). the combintion of ingredients turns red and becomes warm in your mouth, you feel your heart beat a little harder and yours eyes open a little wider (this is the good buai). the closest thing i can equate it to is espresso.
However, buai i gat spak causes you to feel exteremely dizzy and shakey, sick on your stomache, cold sweaty, and awful. i talked with one lady who was sparked by buai and swore off it completely (much like myself)...

this is such an important topic i'll have to cover more tommorrow~

peace and love to you

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Bride Price

our 2nd day in Songum we were privaliged to be invited to a bride price ceremony. this was a big deal to me, to be included in an important kastam (custom) right away. these are the ceremonies you see in national georaphic specials or on the discovery channel...
{Bride Price Cargo}

the bride and her sisters dress in traditional grass skirts (purpur) and all the customary bilas (decoration), diwai paint, black hair greese-the works-
then the 2 families begin what can be a very long and heated argument over what this particular woman is worth.
the man's familiy offered pots, chickens, buai (beetle nut), tobacco, bilums(string bags), food, and money.
when the bride's family decided it wasn't enough the community was asked to help out by giving a little money or laplap(cloth) or pans. Then individuals from the crowd go up to the woman and yell at her (this was all done in Sam so we couldn't understand unless they slipped into Tok Pisin). Some of the people, who i assume were inlaws or extended family, would even strike the woman or pull her hair while yelling at her. Our waspapa explained that they were giving her advice...
after the price was settled-a giant feast was served, each family getting a huge basin filled with taro, kaukau, pork, banana, and kumu all cooked into a coconut greese soup. you just take what you want out of the basin and eat it with your hands. it's good eatin.

more on PNG kaikai (food) another post...

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Home is Where you Hang Your Bilum

i'm so excited to show you our home! looking at the picture makes me miss it...

{home sweet home}

the houses in the lowlands are made with bamboo wall, limbum floors and kunai grass roofs. when it rains it pours in PNG and our house never leaked a bit. we had 3 rooms inside plus a small storage area tht will be used as a houskuk (kitchen) when our waspapa moves in. we did all of our cooking outside under the porch over a fire. our Papa lives in the house on the right but this is his new house. He was planning to move in after we left.
on a typical day a big mama pig would be under the house with her 3 piglets plus 2 wild piglets, several chickens, a cat and a couple of dogs. the goat lived behind us. and i don't care what anybody tells you- roosters do NOT crow at dawn- they go at it all night. but after a week or so it's really not that bad...it actually became comforting in a way...

Friday, December 3, 2010

Arriving at Songum

monin nau!
thank you so much for your intrest in our story. i am honored that so many of you care! i'm excited to answer  the questions about food and the traditional clothing in later posts,,so hold your horses :)

This is where my vocabulary isn't enough...

{The Main Attraction - photo taken our 2nd day in the villiage}

when we arrived in Songum we were met with a horde of curious neighbors. it was overwhelming, humbling, almost too much. our children were immediately celebrities (S boy in particular due to his yellow hair as i was later told)...people pulling them in all directions wanting to touch them and feel their hair, blocking their path,  talking to them in Sam (the tok place of songum)-at this point we only knew minimal Tok Pisin...
the way i described it to Darlin Companion : :" it's like instant celebrity, like being famous and you haven't done anything or wanted it, and everybody is sitting around waiting for us to do something wonderful, like our house is the set of a musical and everybody is waiting for the show to start, i wish i knew how to tap dance- no- a magic trick..."

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Good Lord Willin' and the Creek Don't Rise

Our place, Songum Villiage, is what the people call "bus tru" or WAY out in the bush. When it rains on the mountain the "tait i cam" (the flood comes down). Getting there in tait conditions was exciting.
Here we are crossing one of the 7 rivers to get to Songum. We actually stalled out in this one (it was a little scary). the water was so high in one river our feet were wet inside the cab. The week before 2 men drowned in a truck at this same crossing and the people from our villiage recovered the bodies.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

here we go...

{loading up to head to the villiage}

Welcome! if your're just joining us, this is our first installment of VILLIAGE LIVING; One Photo A Day.

now my disclaimer...i didn't take any camera other than the ghetto point and shoot (because of weather, heat etc.) so some pics are terrible.

AND...i thought it would be fun to answer questions for you...if the pictures bring up any burning questions you can post a comment and i will answer. or if you want to ask about missionary life in general, i'm game :0)

let the fun begin...

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


aaarrrgh. I'm annoyed with the internet situation here. i guess it didn't take long to get over being amazed that we can still email in one ofthe most remote areas of the world. i have so many photos i want to upload from the villiage but it takes 15 minutes to upload one...which costs an awful lot. Maybe i'll upload one a day with a little explanation  what do you think??

(ok, i just tried for 35 minutes to upload one photo and it NEVER worked! UUUHHG!)

stay tuned friends....i'm trying again tommorrow. xo

Sunday, November 28, 2010


Just a quick update to let you know we made it to Ukarumpa last week. Sending BIG LOVE to all of you who have stuck with us through the no blogging time. We have SO much to share...more to follow... we are working on a more affordable way to update frequently. I'll leave you with our traditional Thanksgiving "We Are Thankful For:" list...xoxo

Avacado, Aunt Teresa, Alphabet,Bikes, BOXES IN THE MAIL!, Blueberry GG, bats, bears, bilums, Brandon, CoolWeather, cats, colored pencils, computer, carrots, cards, candy, cell phone, Dancing, Dad, Drew B., DD, Evangeline, ETERNAL LIFE, FRIENDS, fireplace, flowers, frogs, food, family, GOD, Grandma, Grandpa, Graham, Grummits, Haley, Happiness, house, HAnnah W., herbs, honey, Isaac, ice cream, Juice, KING JESUS, LOVE, learning Tok Pisin, Mangoes, Mom, Matthew, Mae, Mosquito nets, Meghan, MiMi, medicine, men, monkeys, markers, MUSIC, Nana, Orange juice, Papa, pizza, parrots, paper, post office lady, Quilts, QUIETNESS, Rides home, rooms, Silas, sunshine, saftey, swings, swimming, suppoters, silly bands, Thanksgiving, TREES, TV ((?) we don't own one), turtles, TEA, umbrellas, Uncle Timmy, Violas, violins, villiage family,wind, wife, Xrays, xylophones, yarn, YOU, yard, Zebras, and zippers.

if you don't make a yearly thankful list you should....gather the pikinini and go through the alphabet. It's SO MUCH FUN!  xo

Monday, August 23, 2010

we are here

we made it!!! everyone is getting ajusted to the time change and the weather. The people have been great. We have been doing a good bit of hiking and of course taking lots of classes. the kids are adjusting well, faster than us to tell the truth. I sent out a prayer calender a little while ago if you did not get it and you would like a copy just let me know and i can get one to you. we miss all of you but are happy to finnaly be here where God wants us.



Saturday, August 14, 2010

Made it to LA

We are in LA right now waiting on our flight to New Zealand. it is like 2:17 am eastern time and we are tired. Matthew is sacked out on the bags, Mae is face on the rug and Evie is jumping up and down on her back. I'm not going to lie there are some wailing on the second flight but all in all it could have been worse. We are ready it get in our seats and relax.
I carried Silas on my back my pack on my front, silas' bag on one arm, Isaac's bag on the other and the camera bag in my hand through LAX. I'm telling you my shoulders are sore. but we are making memories.

Friday, August 13, 2010


Well, the day has arrived.The hour is here. We are sitting in the terminal waiting on our first flight. It was no easy task getting this herd of cats through security but we did it. We are on our way to Papua New Guinea. Thanks to each of you how have played a part in getting us there. I will update you as we move along our trip.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Old Blue

Yesterday, we said goodbye to our constant companion of 8 years. Our 1999 Honda Odessey has been our only vehicle since before i was expecting baby #2. He had over 208,000 miles on him but always got us where we were going.
Old Blue, you brought Bap and Ike home from the birth center, and Si from the hospital. You got me to the ER when i was miscarrying our second child. We made a couple more scary midnight runs to the ER with sick children. When newborn Ikey had meningitis you got us to MUSC safely. When we hit a deer on the way back from the beach you took a lickin' but kept on truckin. When the body shop burned down while you were getting fixed up you came through reeking of burnt plastic and soot but still delivered me and my babies back to Chi town safely.
i'm sorry for the time i stripped your transmission while going 80 down I-85. You never complained my friend . You are a soldier. A prince among thieves. We miss you already...carry on good buddy...xoxo

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Allergic reaction,Healing-Scents, and Asheville

{photo by Courtney at http://www.storinguptreasures.com/}

First of all, since my last post, i had a horrible allergic reaction to the Coastal Classic Creations orange/almond perfume...My neck got all red and swollen and i had to take Benadryl- YIKES. It was pretty bad. I didn't have that problem with any of the other samples.

SO...onto my new favorite~ Healing Scents~ http://www.healing-scents.com/  their products are the BOMB. Their website- no so great- but it's worth navigating for the fabulous products.

My darlin' companion and i {and sweet baby E} are headed off to Asheville for our last date [for 4 years(!)] My sister and brother in law are taking on 4 extra kiddos for the night. BIG HUGE THANK YOU Brandon and Mimi!!! 

and,,by the way i am in love with this photo that courtney (photographer extroininaire) took of me downtown last month. i might post a few more later...so you can get a good look at me before you get a load of my new hair *wink*

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Coastal Classic Creations

I found THE source for non toxic perfume! check out http://www.coastalclassiccreations.com/ They have a HUGE  selection, and you can buy samples to try first. i got the sample 6 pack and liked them all {except for the "Montara Memories"-its a rasberry patchouli supposedly but smelled yucky and perfumey to me} my fave is "Shoreline"- it smells like pikaki [not for you if you don't like sweet florals] its great for summer.

i also tried samples of their concealer, powder, blush, eyeshadow, lipstick, and face oil...it was comparable to Rejuva Minerals {see below} as far as the concealer and powder are concerned...i wasn't a fan of the eyeshadow- it didn't go on smoothly and creased after a few hours. i REALLY like the blush and face oil [i got the Cnoidal Wave Facial Oil]. the face oil was wonderful! it absorbs completely and feels so smooth...
my FAVORITE was the lipstick sample {Ida's Rose} it's such a good color (for me) and lasts forever- you can make it a lipgloss if you mix it with a clear gloss or put it on heavy for a dramatic date night look...

it's worth checking out for sure...one more company i want to write about if our crazy packing schedule will allow...6 days until we leave for PNG! oh my stars***

Friday, August 6, 2010

Take Em Away

"lord take away these chains from me..."

my favorite band + hauntingly beautiful old photographs...did you spot woody and cisco??

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

rejuva minerals

ok girls. i found a few companies who make only non-toxic beauty products, one of them is Rejuva Minerals... check them out at http://www.rejuvaminerals.com/

for what its worth- here is what i think::
i got a sample kit that included concealer, foundation, finishing powder, blush, & eyeshadow {all in cute little trial sizes}
the concealer~ didn't seem to cover as well as what i'm used to but... the website did say it was buildable coveage and may take several coats...i give it a 5 out of 10
 foundation~ also a little more sheer than what i've been using, but for the 0 on the toxicity scale i don't mind applying twice...also a 5 out of 10
finishing powder~ very silky and light, it is mainly to help with shininess- i've never used this before but really like the feel of it...6 out of 10
blush~ this was good stuff- it was more pigmented than a typical non mineral blush and took only a small amount the color was good too...7 out of 10
eyeshadow~ great color- lasted well went on very smoothly,, i liked it alot...also a 7 out of 10                   
mascara~ didn't thicken or lengthen as well as a drug store brand (but i'm getting over that) it did smudge a bit after a full day but not as bad as my Dr. Haushka's {which i paid 3 times as much for}
i give it a 6 out of 10

overall>> Rejuva minerals is worth a try especially because you can create your own sample kit and choose what colors and products you want to try before blindly buying full sizes....

there are a couple of other brands i want to tell you about too... if time permits...we are crazily packing to move to PNG in 10 short days and i'm distracting myself with this new obssession...

what good, nontoxic, beauty products have you found and LOVE??

Thursday, July 29, 2010

for my sisters

this is unrelated to the PNG theme~ but i have life changing information for you... Ladies you need to check your cosmetics and beauty potions! the stuff you slather onto yourself everyday...seriously. go to http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com/ and look up the products you use and see their toxicity rating... you will be SHOCKED! i did this a week ago- and those of you who know me personally know that i am very much into natural health and beauty...i couldn't believe that even the healthfood store brands were sometimes 3 or 4 on a scale of 0-10! i am now on the search for 0s...and i have ordered some samples~ i'll let you know what i think when i try them out...we need to start a revolution! and stop using toxic crap on ourselves and our little pumpkins! will you join me in using only products that are rated 2 or lower?? leave me a comment and let me know what products you are using so we can review them for each other and please pass on the message to your sisters!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

July Newsletter

this is a copy of our most recent newsletter...just click to make it larger~

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


it happened yesterday- we reached 100% of our monthly budget!! up until now it's just seemed surreal- like we were traveling around telling people we were going to Papua New Guinea so much that it became a story to tell...but now as i sit in a missionary appartment in Glen Ellyn, IL with So many friends to say goodbye to, it is REAL. We still have to travel to Wake Forest, NC to tell more dear friends goodbye...all of this is very strange for me, being emotionally warped and all,,,i would rather just disappear and show up again...we are trying extra hard {for the children} to have closure.

anyhow, we do still need $3,500 for one time start up cost [for language training etc.]

a big HUGE Thank You to all of you who have made monthly investments in our ministry!!!

i hope to update frequently, but with the travel, packing and overall craziness of large family living, it may get spotty for a while,,, LOVE and Blessings to you all...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


One week until our deadline...and guess WHAT?? We only need $249 a month to have 100% of our budget! {Plus $5,000 for start up costs in country}
Yesterday we were given the OK to buy 7 one way tickets to Papua New Guinea!!

this all happened so fast. i confess that i thought we weren't going to make the deadline and i would have a few extra weeks to prepare. We have so much to do!
We are packing to leave for Chicago July 16-28 with stops in NC 28-31st...
pray that we say goodbye well and that the children have a good sense of closure here...
more later....
SO MUCH to do...xo

Monday, July 12, 2010

Goodbye Stuff...

i think mae summed it up best by saying "mom, it's just so weird to see strangers walk off with everything that was mine..."

the children set up their own table and they chose what to sell, they made their own prices, took care of their own money, and kept their profits.

eveybody helped set up. furniture was the hot item...as soon as we would bring it out it would sell...i never even got a picture of everything set all up because people showed up before it got light to shop!!

{matthew and isaac taking care of customers}

evie was quite the little helper too :)

my mom came out to help and brought some of her old stuff to sell {they are moving after 30 years in the same house!!!}
the things that didn't sell were immedietly carted away to goodwill [so we wouldn't look at it all and have second thoughts]
there were a few things that sold that i had to breathe through the emotional response~ but over all it wasn't that bad...
mostly it feels good,, lighter,,just a bit more free~
we are now down to books and clothes-

but we still have each other!!