Thursday, July 30, 2009

Warning to the USA, we're coming home!

We've borrowed this idea from a fellow friend living in Tanzania and soon to return home, and we've updated the list with some changes. Since her name is mine in French, it seemed ok to steal it... Thanks Michelle!

We'll be back in the USA pretty soon. And we may be a little different than what you all who knew us remembered from a couple years ago. So we ask for your patience in dealing with us and coming to an understanding. Times when we'll especially need grace are:

-When we run for cover as the sun goes down, insisting that everyone shut the doors and get under their mosquito nets.

-When we use random Swahili words. Gently remind us that we speak English in America.

-When we stand in the cereal aisle and the check-out lane full of candy bars at the grocery store, mouth wide open, dumbfounded with all of the choices.

-When we get a jacket and ski cap every time the temperature drops to the 80’s.

-When driving and we approach an intersection. The technique we like to employ here is the "I'm bigger than you" philosophy. If my car is bigger than yours, I go and you stop. When the other car is a bus, I use the "I'm more agile than you" philosophy. I'm more agile than your bus full of passengers, therefore I go and you stop. It works, don't worry!

-When we drive on the left, and pass other cars on hills and curves and utilize sidewalks and ditches. (Did we mention that we won't have a vehicle this fall and would love to borrow yours for a few days?)

-When we try to negotiate the price of everything, everywhere.

-When we show up 3 hours late for our lunch appointment. Oh, and if you invite us, that means you're paying :).

-When bugs land in our food, and we continue eating.

-When we find something in the pantry full of unidentified living creatures and put it in the oven on low so all the bugs crawl out., then cook and eat.

-When we stare at you utterly confused upon references to movies, TV shows, music, and news.

-When we suggest a Toyota Camry as a perfectly acceptable mode of transportation for 12 people across town.

-When we set aside the restaurant menu and ask the waiter "What do you really have?"

-When we scream with excitement upon receiving mail.

-When our excitement increases, seeing that the mail hasn’t already been opened and pilfered.

Please be patient as we readjust to western civilization again.

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Great Sin of Ironing

A friend of ours told us a story today of some students who were kicked out of their dorms. Their heinous crime, you ask? Ironing their clothes. It seems after being told the simple rule of "no ironing allowed" (uses too much electricity), and then later warned, the boys were caught awake in the wee hours of the morning, ironing their clothes. Nothing good happens after midnight... in this case, nothing good is a flat front and starched collar. Yes indeed, the young men had snuck out of bed way before the light of the morning and were secretly ironing their clothes. But upon being caught, immediate expulsion from the dorm followed.

While listening to this story, I couldn't help but laugh. I pictured these student boys sneaking out of bed and rousing the rascals to get together for their illegal ironing party. Then I thought back to my college days. I remember getting a new iron as a graduation gift from high school just before going to college. I then remember opening that brand new iron 5 years later, shortly after getting married. I had taken it to college, just never pulled it off the shelf in my closet nor out of the box! To this day I think I've used it about 5 times.

Maybe if my school had had a "no ironing" policy... We did have a "no George Foreman Grill" policy, and I had one of those in my dorm room. I mean honestly, who on a full meal plan living in a single room with a fridge the size of a foot locker needs a George Foreman Grill?

Paul said that we were all born into the sin of Adam (Romans 5:12-14). Remember the tree? How hard is it to eat from every tree but that one? How hard is it to wear wrinkled clothes? How hard is it to eat of any meats but those grilled on a George Foreman Grill?

Our son is now 6 months old, almost. He loves it when I read my Bible. Those little crinkly pages seem the perfect toy: noisy, tearable, and incredibly tasty. He's learned now that there are many little collections of bound volumes of paper. He's also learned that when he grabs one and digs into the pages, Mommy and Daddy respond with a sharp "NO" and removal of said temptation. Yet whenever a book is in eyesight, it's the destination he chooses. Is the book really that much more fun than the red truck? Or soft rattle frog with crinkly wings and rubber wings? No, but it is forbidden!

The Bible teaches us that until we are given a new spirit, our old one will lead us toward destruction (Romans 8:1-11, 2 Corinthians 5:17). We will naturally choose the forbidden... until we have a new spirit. Not because it's any better, but just because that's what we do. However through Christ, not only is forgiveness of sins found, but also an entirely new spirit. One that shows us a worthwhile way to live and path to take which glorifies God, and actually makes doing good not only possible, but natural!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

My New Skills

I'm trying real hard to crawl.
I can sit up on my own.
I have two teeth.

I can eat from a spoon.

I can play with my toys.

And this makes me happy!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Don't worry, they'll go away!

There's a great story in Acts that I love reading. It's one of the few times that one of the religious leaders actually seems to have any sense. (Acts 5:17-6:7)

You see, the high priest and his flunkies were all ticked off at these new "Christ-followers" who were disrupting their comfortable order to everything. They dared to enter the temples and teach about this Jesus who was crucified, and they even went so far as to say that the religious leaders had killed him!

So they arrested the rag-tag troop, and threw them in prison. But then they went to the prison, and the Christ-followers weren't there. Somehow they'd walked right past the bars and guards and were once again in the temple teaching. "Odd, but no matter, we'll arrest them again," the religious leaders thought.

But then it gets good, and intelligent. One Pharisee, a guy named Gamaliel, stood up and captured the attention of the other hot-shots. Obviously a history buff, he wowed them with some knowledge and suggested learning from the past. He told them about other little movements: A guy named Theudas showed up one day, created a fuss, and about 400 people began following him. But then he was put to death, and the followers just sort of dispersed and went home. Another time, a Galilean named Judas started a revolt, and his team raised quite a fuss. Till he was killed, then they all went home.

"So," says Gamaliel, "Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”

Finally! Some intelligence from the religious community. If it's of man, it will fail. If it's of God, there's nothing we can do to stop it. 2000 years have passed now, I wish Gamaliel could be here today to tell us which one it was...

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Cookouts and Fireworks

After staying home last year with little fanfare, we decided this year that one holiday we will always celebrate while living abroad is July 4th. American Independence Day has always been a holiday close to both of our hearts. We have childhood memories of giant family cookouts, afternoon fun, and night-time fireworks over the city and the lake. As married adults, our July 4th celebrations entered a whole new domain with the Scott-Standiford backyard pyrotechnic extravaganza. Now living overseas, we realized that we can share this holiday and the fun of it with American and national friends alike. No matter what country or culture you're from, who can pass up a cook out, fun and games, and blowing things up? Wherever we find ourselves for the rest of our lives, July 4th will always be a party at or near our home.

This year, we cooked pizza and chocolate chip cookies on Saturday, along with 8 of our closest friends in TZ (American and Tanzanian). Then we played card games and telephone pictionary and called it a night. On Sunday, we journeyed to the US Embassy in Dar Es Salaam for a cookout of burgers and hotdogs, complete with blow up games, cupcakes, a dunkbooth, and a classic fireworks display. I was quite saddened that there was no Dr. Pepper to be found at the Embassy's party :(. When the night did turn to dark (7pm, as it's the middle of winter here!), the fireworks lit off and Sawyer was a real trooper. For about the first 20 sonic booms, he hugged into his daddy and took it in, but then a look of uncertainty turned to a pout and a lip quiver that almost morphed to a cry. When it ended, he relaxed his grip and put forth his signature smile that all was ok in the world!

Sawyer enjoyed his first 4th of July along with his parents. His stars and stripes shirt which proclaimed "I love the USA" was appropriate for the day, and only slightly ironic as he's never actually been to the USA. But soon, he shall learn to love it!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Little Sawyer, Little Daddy

Sawyer continues to follow in the footsteps of Daddy, but poor guys still looks like me too! Seems to be growing into it as much as he's growing out of it!