Tuesday, July 27, 2010


So, yesterday I promised I would comment about some of the items on the list to bring to New Guinea and while I fully intended to do that earlier today, things got crazy, and by "things" I mean my kids. I had a headache most of the day while my husband was gone to some meetings for our church. We have no phone and one vehicle, so I was stuck here with no way to contact him to bring me something for it. (and by "something" I mean Dr. Pepper b/c Tylenol wasn't enough, sometimes a little caffeine goes a long way) The girls both decided to be cranky today, so being on the computer for more than 5 seconds at a time was not an option. Then tonight Lu had her first soccer practice ever, and I almost died from the cuteness on the field. There is nothing cuter than 4 year olds playing soccer!! (pic above is proof!) I fully planned on coming straight home to blog and take care of some other stuff when our pastor's wife called me to go hang out with her, to which I eagerly (probably a little too eagerly) said, "YES" because I have been in the house for 2 days straight with no adult interaction other than JM who has been gone a lot. I am sure that my intense energy made her feel a little bombarded (who can name that movie reference??) and I know I talked way too much, so she will probably be too scared to call me again for a while. But, I had lots of fun and it was sweet of her to entertain me! Anyway, here I am now talking about that crazy list!

First of all, I wanted to comment on that picture I found of the mosquito net. Anyone else notice how nice that house is? Seriously, mosquito net dealer, is that who you think your market is? People with houses like that? Um no, this would be more appropriate.

Secondly, I would like to talk about the "clothing" on that list. She made no mention of the wonderful fashion of PNG for the ladies. Here is a picture of a the typical attire for women. It is called a "meri" blouse. My husband is very excited about seeing me in this everyday, I know. I also thought I would tell you here one of my favorite things we learned while in the training. One day, a teacher of ours who spent many years on the field of New Guinea was explaining cultural differences and told us very seriously that women going to PNG should NEVER wear tight pants or any pants for that matter that weren't accompanied by a long shirt that went past your "rear end". He then said, and I quote, "It is would be more appropriate for you ladies to go topless than to wear tight jeans." Needless to say this made me really excited about going there.

I would also like to mention that we will be gone for about 4 years at a time. For adults that is really not a big deal, but when you are packing for 3 very young children, it is a nightmare. I am going to have to buy clothes from sizes 5 to 9 for Lu, and then fill in the gaps for the younger girls where the hand-me-downs are winter clothes. That is going to be a fun experience...sorting through tubs of clothes picking out all winter stuff and trying to find summer stuff in those sizes. When are we leaving again. January 2012?? Wait, THIS COMING JANUARY??? I guess I better get started. If I am missing for a few days, please come look for me in the pile of baby girls' clothes in the middle of my floor.

Monday, July 26, 2010


I got a list of things that would be good to bring to the field today. I thought I would share it with you all here.

. IPOD or Mp3 device and speakers.
. A Kitchen Aide mixer or Bosch Kitchen machine - I know this is a big
power user - but everyone has one and says that it is a MASSIVE time saver.

. Swim wear - many people go to the beach and to the local restaurant/hotel pool. The sun is extreme here so it would be good to have rash guard/swim shirts for the family (or at least the kids) and good sunscreen.

. Material - cotton or other material to make curtains. A plain cotton material for backing the curtains with so they don't deteriorate from the sun. Possibly some sturdy material to make cushion covers or floor pillow covers. There is material available here, but mostly rayon and polyester.

. Ladies clothes - skirts, capris, longer shorts, lots of tank tops
and a few t-shirts (many women don't wear t-shirts in the sepik because it
is so hot. You will want a few "warmer" items for trips to the highlands) .
Undergarments wear out in the hot sun so bring plenty.

. Mens clothes - shorts, tank tops and t-shirts. A few pairs of "warmer" clothes for the highlands. A couple dressier shirts for speaking in mission church services or going out to eat at a nicer restaurant.

. Kids clothes - dresses, skirts, capris, shorts, tanks, t-shirts (maybe a few warmer items for trips to the highlands to see a doctor or dentist etc.)

. Swim wear - ladies need to wear shorts over their swimsuits in this culture. Many ladies wear board shorts or other swim trunk type shorts. if you have little ones, you will want to bring arm band/floaties for swimming as those aren't usually available here.

. Toys - although there are toys available here, most are not good quality and fall apart quickly. You may want to bring a small stash to give to your kids for Christmas or birthdays.

. Kitchen-You can buy some items in town, but I think most people bring their own dishware and pots and pans. The quality is not what we are used to in our home countries and many items rust, crack or break fairly easily. A good can opener is a must as they rust out quickly. I would advice a Swing Away brand simple hand operated can opener. I would also recommend bringing two. Also, a good rolling pin.

. Nets- If you plan to live in a bush location as opposed to Wewak, you will want mosquito nets (which can be made or bought)-preferably a net that keeps out mosquitos and gnats. Also - good fly swatters!

. Spices - spices are available in town here but some are hit and miss. I would recommend you at least bring over the italian herbs. Bring Cream of Tartar and Mapeline (sometimes no syrup is available in country) Spices do go moldy quickly so don't bring too many over.

. Ziplock bags - you can get medium and small Ziploc bags in Wewak. They are not as sturdy as what you might find in your home country and don't last through many washings. I would recommend bringing over some large and extra large Ziplocs. Also, the newer really big Ziploc bags work nicely for keeping towels and clothes smelling mold free as you store them from time to time - just an idea.

. Toiletries - you can get toothpaste (Colgate) and toothbrushes in town here. There are soaps and shampoos available as well. If you need a specific kind of shampoo, you probably ought to bring your own, but if not,the ones available here are descent. But you won't find good quality deodorant, hairspray, gel

. Shoes - Flip flops, flip flops, flip flops, and a nice strap sandal (Teva, Solomon, Keen) for walking through swamps and across rivers. Tennis Shoes may be nice, depending on where you are located. There are really no decent shoes available here.

. Hats - hats are a very good thing to bring as they are so needed. Wide brimmed hats, especially for the fairer skinned would be a good idea. You can buy some hats in town, but they are mostly baseball type hats.

. throw pillows or the material to make some here.
. British Berkfield water filter

. French Press, you can also buy them here. But you mostly find glass and they will break easily. Starbucks has nice metal ones that I would recommend and they don't take power, and I would also bring the grinder. I use mine a lot for coffee from the highlands or from stuff from the states.

. Canisters - Tupperwear to put sugar and flour in. Definitely bring all that you have, you can always use it for other things if needed

. Cookbooks - Wycliff has a great one and then my own personal one with misc. recipes in it. Everything is homemade - so a variety of books is helpful

. Candles in a jar are nice because they don't melt all over your stuff.

. Bring some decorations for the holidays. It makes you feel good to pull out your stuff, and it makes it more homey.

. Pelican Brief Cases for laptops.

. A duvet cover with nothing in it works good for a bedspread.

. AA & AAA batteries (available here but they don't last long)Rechargables are great but make sure the charger will work with 50Hz.

. sheets/ pillows

. waterbed bladders if you are going tribal

. family photos that are already laminated (office max does a great job!)

. kitchen utensils.wooden spoons, spatulas, all your measuring spoons and cups

. glasses/cups

. There is a store in town the sells very affordable and plates, bowls, mugs. It's heavy earthenware but it's pretty.

. cookie sheets

. Some nice pizza pans, muffin tins,

. casserole dishes

. Diaper wipes and baby cereal

. Good diapers are nice to have over here

. Medicine that they would use all the time back home - ie. baby Tylenol, benedryl

. picture frames to make your house feel more like home

. Stain remover for clothes - like Shout or Spray n Wash

. Tools esp. Cordless drill and basic hand tools

. A set of bed sheets per family member is nice to have

. Vacuum cleaner (live and die by it in the bush. mine's just a shopvac and I LOVE IT)

. Step stool, or build one when you get here.

. hair color

. snorkel equipment

. Vitamins...you could get them in town but very expensive

. plenty of hair things (rubberbands, clips, etc

. Thank you cards and stationary to write notes to others on base or in the bush

. CD's and DVD's that you enjoy

Is anyone overwhelmed? Is anyone actually reading the whole list? I am not overwhelmed, actually. I am already overwhelmed with preparations for a new baby that is coming in 5 weeks! So, who wants to be overwhelmed for me about this list? Anyone? Anyone? Why do I only hear crickets?????

P.S. I will be commenting on a few of these things specifically tomorrow. :)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

All the Single Ladies

Remember our trip to New Orleans? Yeah this is the friend/co-worker/Mattie's best friend/most awesome girl we know that we were meeting down there. The reasons for her trip were 3 fold. 1) We missed her. Desperately. 2) We wanted her to experience the South. And by "the South" we mean southern food because, really, what else is there to do down here other than eat? 3) We thought it would be good for her to experience the heat and humidity before moving to the jungle. Jesus told us all to count the cost, and while the Missionary Training Center did an excellent job of helping us to consider our health, safety, comforts, families, and the daily hardships that we will face, they did not prepare us for the weather. (Although, they used to. Did you know there used to be a training center or "boot camp" in Durant, Mississippi? They never should have closed that thing down. I can imagine the heat and culture shock all the students got down here!) So, we thought she should endure this one final test before deciding to go to New Guinea. She passed with flying colors, even though once I thought I heard her mumble something under her breath about going to Greenland. In fact, I think yours truly here complained the most about the heat, but as a pregnant lady, I have the right to do that. I am pretty sure that is in the Constitution- freedom of religion, speech, the right to bear arms, and the right for pregnant ladies to complain about any temperature above 75 degrees Fahrenheit. The end.

Anyway, the whole point of this post which I am getting to now is to introduce you to another special breed of woman. The Tribal Single Lady. If you think the Tribal wife is tough, brave...crazy, then this girl is tougher, braver, and crazier. She goes into the jungle alone. I wish I could say they are a rare breed...well, in some ways they are...but, sadly single women missionaries are all too common. In fact, way more common than men. Our graduating class had 7 single ladies and no, I repeat, no single guys. The 1st semester class that year had 10 single ladies and again, no single guys. Where are all the men? Seriously? Why are these ladies willing to trek out in the jungle alone, but very few guys are? I don't get it. I mean Survivorman? Man vs. Wild? I guess guys just like to watch these shows rather than live them. Who knows? Anyway, I did not mean for this to turn into man- bashing because it is not. I am just saying that these girls deserve some serious props for what they are willing to go through for the sake of the Gospel, and I tip my hat to them...if I had a hat...I have never been able to wear hats...I have a weird head. Anyway, that is all for now. Just wanted to give a shout out for all the Tribal Single Ladies. Guys if you like it...put a ring on it. Just know that you will have to go live in the jungle, sleep under a mosquito net, and build an odorless outhouse for her. But trust me, she is worth it!

P.S. I will leave you with one more picture of our New Orleans experience. Walking around in all that heat and humidity was worth this moment. YUMMMMMMM!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Southern food

When talking to people about our "food issues" in PNG, I realized that we already eat weird food to most people in America. For all my southern friends you will immediately think "what's weird about that?" which is exactly what I thought until I moved to Missouri and most of my friends were from even further north than that. Sweet tea is not the only thing that doesn't reach further than Nashville. The picture above is of fried dill pickles. Yep. All my southern friends are thinking "Yum!" and everyone else is thinking "What?" I thought everyone ate these until I made them one night in Missouri and my neighbor came over and made lots of gagging and belching noises at the thought. There are also corn nuggets on this plate. Is that nation wide? I can't imagine that it is, but they are quite tasty as well. It is just creamed corn...that is fried. Anyone seeing a pattern here? The stereotype that all southern food is fried is actually not a stereotype, but a cold hard fact... as hard as all the arteries from Tennessee to Texas. It is all fried, but all good!

We recently decided to have our friend and future co- worker who is from Chicago come down and take a food tour of the south. We started in New Orleans which actually has its own strange culinary delights. It was lots of fun and we all needed bigger pants by the time she left. The two main things we wanted her to experience in NOLA were beignets and the muffaletta. Both are extraordinarily delicious. (although, I think beignets are technically French, but Cafe du Monde in New Orleans is famous for them, so it counts) Here are the beignets. They are just French dough nuts really, but who cares? They are way better than a regular dough nut I can guarantee you that! Why are they so far away from me, right now? Here is the muffaletta. I know all you northerners are saying "the who-da-what-a?" It is meat and olive loaf and cheese and lots of olives. It is divine...that is, if you like olives. If you do not, you might want to stear clear of this sandwich and order some gumbo or jambalaya or crawfish etouffee. I know at this point that all of you "non-southerners" are thinking that I already live in a foreign country, and actually the answer is... kind of. The southeast is its own unique place, but I love it! How could you not love a place that produces such delicious food? I will always be appreciative of my southern heritage and I think I will be even more so when I move to the tribe and take one valuable southern lesson with me..."if it tastes bad, fry it"...that makes everything better. Well, frying and a little ranch dressing.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


I can't cook. This is my first attempt at brownies from scratch. I won't show you a picture of what they are supposed to look like to save myself further embarrassment. Anyway, I have never been a very good cook. In fact, I did very little cooking until we moved to China and I was pregnant and having an aversion to what else? Chinese food! I had to learn very quickly how to cook some things I could keep down. Finding ranch dressing helped.

Anyway, I have been practicing some things. I think I finally have chocolate chip cookies down, but it took 4 months...looks like I am going to have at least as long with the brownies. Luckily, my husband is up for trying new and weird things, and at least one of my kids is. (Mae will either learn to eat something other than potato chips or lose a lot of weight), so we can eat simply and some of what the tribal people eat. Some veteran tribal wives have suggested that I pack cases of dry ranch dressing mix because it makes anything better. (I have previous experience with this as noted above).

I have heard that PNG food is terrible which is disappointing for us. Our favorite thing about traveling is trying new foods. My food aversions in China subsided after about 4 months and then I was able to enjoy some really great food! Yes, China does have weird stuff, but they also have some amazing dishes that I might cry over right now just thinking about! UGH! Let's move on...Wait. I will include a picture of my favorite Chinese dish at the risk of never being able to look at this blog post again. Just looking at this photo makes me want to change all my PNG plans and head straight back to China! (then I remember that it takes at least 3 years to learn Chinese and for me, more realistically it will take 47. Melanesian Pidgin takes 6 months. PNG it is!) Anyway, the dish is lamb with leeks or "cong bao yang rou". Let us all take a minute and enjoy the beauty of this... Ok, what was I talking about? Oh yeah, bad PNG food...

This is a group of people preparing for a pig roast in New Guinea. This can't be that bad right? I mean I like all kinds of pork... bacon... chops... ribs.......... GUTS? Wait... maybe not... Could you stir fry my pig intestines with leeks, please? That might make it go down a little easier.

Thursday, July 1, 2010


We are doing A LOT of traveling these days. Since graduating from New Tribes Missionary Training we have been in the "partnership development" phase of our ministry. What that really means is that we drive all over the north, south, east, and west telling people about living in a tribe..."yes, I will be homeschooling...no, I will not have air conditioning...yes, I know we are crazy, psychotic, need mental evaluations right away..." and trying to find people who are willing to give us money so that we can go, eat, live, etc.

We drive a lot. People call and ask if we can come. And we go. No matter where it is. It usually isn't that bad. Our kids our surprisingly very good travelers, which makes it a lot easier on us, but once they get to a new place they feel that have to see the entire premises in .5 seconds...so they run. Up and down hallways, aisles, pews. I end up chasing them while JM sets up. At the end, I am exhausted and JM has done everything himself, and would have probably been better off if we had stayed home. Yesterday, we actually got the opportunity to travel without the children. To us, that sounded like heaven. Angels sang. We heard trumpets. I thought, "wow, I can actually help my husband!" Well...we started off the trip by driving 5 miles away from my mom's house and realizing that we forgot our cell phone, which we had to have, so we turned around and went back. Next, our GPS took us through the back woods of Alabama where we got behind not 1 but 3 huge tractors going -6 miles an hour. Next came the Biblical flood. We finally arrived at Southside Baptist Church in Dothan, Al after 3 hours. We had a great time at the church and I got to run our info table and felt very useful. I liked my job. I am the table person. I can contribute! Then we left and decided to stop and eat at a restaurant without the kids. Angels sang once again. Until half way through our meal we get a call saying we left our table and all our materials at the church!! FAILURE! Ugh! So, maybe I am not the best "table person". Maybe I do better just keeping up with our kids. I mean, I have NEVER left them at a church! So anyway, we drive about 10 miles back to the church, apologize profusely for the people who had to return to unlock the place for us and drive two and a half hours back to my mom's, rolling in at midnight and thinking about how much we missed our girls! It was all in a days work!

It got me thinking, though, about traveling in my future. It will look a little different. It may be in the little plane above... or in this helicopter...
OR in this
Maybe last night's travel wasn't so bad...