Friday, April 29, 2011


I know you are wondering what we could possibly be packing since we already shipped all our stuff way back in October. Honestly, I am sorta wondering that myself. But, there are a few things that we didn't ship. Like, my clothes, or JMG's clothes, or any spices, because we were not allowed to ship any food items due to customs issues.

At the Missionary Training Center we go through a lot of interesting classes. Classes that teach cultural issues, a linguistic overview, theological classes. But some of the classes are just about everyday life in a tribal situation. For example, we had a class called "simple living" where we had to stay on campus for 2 weeks, order our groceries over a radio, cook everything from scratch, and turn off all our lights and power at 8 pm. In the previous post about making bread, I mentioned that it was the first time I had done this and all my fellow New Tribers were quick to question me about my simple living grade. Well, our instructor told us that it didn't have to be loaf bread, but could be cinnamon rolls, or something like that. And, I mean, who would want to eat plain old loaf bread when you can eat cinnamon rolls? Especially, Pioneer Woman cinnamon rolls! Seriously, if you haven't had any PW cinnamon rolls, go make some right now! So, there is your answer all my NTM friends. I DID NOT CHEAT AT SIMPLE LIVING!!!

Anyway, during this class all the ladies got the option of meeting with some of the staff ladies to get their advice on cooking, canning, mending, etc. on the field while the guys were in classes like plumbing, and small engine repair. I thought this was a really good idea, because if anyone expected me to do any plumbing then we would be doing our business where a bear does his, if you get what I mean. And, to have me in the "small engine repair" class would require changing the name to "small engine breaking it worse than it already was" class. So, I spent most of my time with the ladies learning from their collective years of wisdom. Each of the missionary wives had been in different countries doing different things at different times and each one had this one suggestion in common. Ranch Dressing. I was told by everyone to bring as many of the dry ranch dressing packets as I could and to always have people send some over when they ship us packages. Apparently, ranch dressing makes everything disgusting edible and rights all wrongs in the world. So. I bought ranch dressing. And, I would like to apologize to anyone who went to the Wal- Mart in Richland, Mississippi last Monday wanting to buy ranch dressing packets, because I cleaned them out. That is 54 packages times two in each package equals 108. I wonder how long that will last me? Any guesses? A week? A month? Six months? That would be a fun little poll...

Anyway, so I have a suitcase full of ranch dressing packets, and other spices, and I also have a suitcase full of Disney Princesses. People keep asking me what I am going to do with three girls in the jungle, and the answer is...same dang thing I do with them here. Have princesses- will travel. So there you go. We are packed. Even my wonderful husband is packed, who let's just get honest, no one expected to be packed until the day we left.

Although...if I had one wish...I would wish for more wishes, obviously, but after getting more wishes, the first one I would make would be that I could pack all my friends and family in those suitcases as well. But I guess I would have to pay some serious $$$ for the overage in weight. Not that I am calling you all fat. Its know...there's a lot of you. Sigh. Oh well, I guess that is the difficult part of being a missionary. Well, one of them anyway. Sweating your you-know-what off day in and day out with no air conditioning is up there too. Sorry, I hadn't mentioned air conditioning in a while and I just thought you might have forgotten how I feel about it. Smiley face.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Joy of Baking

I made bread today. For the first time ever. Nine days before we are supposed to leave for PNG. I am the queen of procrastination. Actually, I am only the queen of procrastination when it is something I do not like to do. Or something I am afraid to do. Like cooking. I mean I have been packed for a month, so I should get points for that. Anyway, I have wanted to practice making bread for a long time, but every recipe I found on the internet called for a stand mixer. Since my stand mixer was already on the other side of the world, I had no idea what to do. I looked in old cook books, but they are very vague and use phrases that are obviously for people who know about cooking, so I just gave up. Then, my friend Bethany sent me a recipe for hand made bread, and 3 months later I decided to try it. She did a great job of explaining each step, so it was actually pretty easy to follow, even for a baking dummy like myself. There were only 2 things that stressed me out. Sifting and kneading. I know I didn't have to sift, but she said that it would make for lighter, fluffier bread, and who doesn't want lighter, fluffier bread? I will go ahead and confess to you that part of my hatred for cooking is due to the fact that I am a perfectionist and am sort of needy. Meaning that if what I slaved for hours over isn't perfect and doesn't make everybody who eats if tell me how wonderful it is, well, then it just isn't worth it to me. That is vain and horrible- I know. But it is one of my many faults and it goes for other things as well. Like this blog. If I write a blog post and do not get nice comments or my hit counter doesn't go up drastically, then I freak out and think that everyone hates me and contemplate deleting the whole thing. Pathetic. Sometimes, to make myself feel better I just refer to Gary Chapman's idea that "words of affirmation" are my "love language" and I just can't help it. Whew! I needed to get that off my chest. Thanks for listening and not charging me $300 an hour. Anyway...

Back to the bread. The kneading did, however, make me evaluate my life. My friend said that she kneads for at least 10 minutes, and I originally thought. 10 minutes...that doesn't sound too bad. After what I thought had been about 8 minutes I looked up and it was 9:02. I started kneading at 9:00 am. Two minutes. I thought I was going to die. I gave myself a little pep talk and kept going. I looked up again at what I thought had surely been 10 minutes, and it was 9:05. I then, stopped, cried, and wrote a 10 page paper to JMG explaining why we would never have bread again, and the scientific reasons why rice is superior to bread in the starch world, anyway. I looked at my bibliography and noticed that all my sources were Chinese, so I deleted the whole paper, since we are in fact, not Chinese (even though one of us was born there) We are American, dadgummit. And Americans like BREAD! And CHEESE! And MEAT! God Bless America!!! So, with my new found patriotism and what was now a severe craving for bread, I carried on. And, at 9:09. I stopped, because seriously, what is one minute?? Even, though I felt like I had just completed an intense arm workout- it was pretty easy from there. (maybe if I used our gym membership for something other than the pool, then it wouldn't have been that bad) I discovered something during this process that will forever motivate me in the future... bread baking in the oven makes your house smell AMAZING!!! So even though it will be 120 degrees in my kitchen and turning the oven on will be like taking a vacation to the surface of the sun, I will still bake bread for that smell! For that smell, I will do just about anything! Amen. (oh, and it tasted pretty good too)

Friday, April 22, 2011

The last date

JMG and I just went on our last alone date. Probably for the next 4 years. We went to our favorite restaurant and then stayed in a nice hotel for the night. (I know what you are thinking. Stop it right now. I am embarrassed. Seriously, stop it! Now I am blushing. Ok, I will just say this...things can't get too romantic when one party has to bring their breast pump along...end of story) You see we have been staying with my in- laws for the last few weeks. In their house the thermostat is set on 80 degrees and the TV is constantly on NCIS. We love them, but we wanted to get at least one more night in air conditioning and watch our favorite TV shows in peace. I know that sounds a little stupid. Most marriage counselors suggest that couples not have TVs in their bedrooms, but for us it is a treat to get to watch TV together. We love TV. A little too much probably, but we don't care. In fact, we think it is quite fitting that our last night of watching "The Office" will also be Steve Carell's last show. It is the end of an era.

Anyway, it was nice to be able to spend some time as husband and wife before our lives get completely turned upside down. This is only the second time we have gone away and spent the night without our six years. I know that sounds crazy and people probably wonder how we are still married, but because of the nature of our jobs we get to spend way more time together than most couples do. In fact, I am sure that most of JMG's friends think I am the coolest wife ever since I "let" him have "guys" nights all the time. But, he isn't away from the house 40 hours a week like most other husbands, and I will just be honest and say that I might need a night or two to watch chick flicks and eat chocolate without someone telling me exactly what is going to happen next because "these movies are so predictable". Back to the point. We get to spend a lot of time together, and that is a good thing. I mean I know our kids are there, but we like our kids, so it is not that big a deal to us. Plus, I have a tiny panic attack every time they leave my side, so that is not something I would like to experience on a regular basis. But it looks like they had a good time without us...

I do not know what I was worried about.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Some things I have learned...

I am (almost) 30 years old and feel like that makes me a "real" adult. Although, I heard the other day that 40 is the new 20, and if that is the case then 30 is the new 10, so I wanted to share some things that I have learned in these wonderful 10 years that I have spent on this earth. I know you are thinking what could a 10 year old have to offer, but I have faced challenges such as having to pee into a cup roughly the size of a thimble while 9 months pregnant and squatting over a hole in the ground...and I have overcome. With a bottle of Purell, and baby wipes, I have overcome. (I also heard someone say that 60 is the new 30, and if that is the case then I am a fetus, and should not even be writing this post, because who wants to take advice from a fetus??) Anyway...

1. Some people are jerks.

People have said things to me before that were disturbing, offensive, attacking, crappy, and I would spend the next few weeks or months evaluating my life and trying to figure out what I need to do to change it. During on of these instances I told a friend what happened looking for a second opinion and she said, "Oh, don't worry about that- he is just a jerk." He is just a jerk. It was life changing. A huge relief. Some people are jerks, and they say jerky things, and it should have no bearing on your life whatsoever. So, if someone ever says something upsetting to you, first ask yourself, "Is this person a jerk?" If the answer is yes, then shrug it off, go eat a cupcake and move on with your life.

2. Always encourage engaged couples.

When JMG and I got engaged, I was a little paranoid. I loved him and wanted to marry him more than anything,but coming from a divorced family makes you slightly terrified of marriage. What made things worse was all the little comments people made. Most of them were just teasing, but all the references to "ball and chain" and "your life is over" had me in a persistent state of the "deer in headlights" look. But this precious couple helped cure all that. They spent lots of time with us giving us advice and telling us that marriage is the greatest thing in the world. Since they had been married longer than any one else we knew, it meant a lot. It helped me calm down, and some days I wonder if my wedding would have resembled a scene from "Runaway Bride" without them.

3.Never say anything you can't take back.

The same couple also told us this, and we have found it to be great advice. I am being transparent here and letting you know that we are yellers. We yell a little too much at each other and at our kids. But, we do not curse and we do not name call. Other than the volume I think our words are pretty tame, and it is because we hear those words in our heads even when we are angry. (at least I do. I don't know what words JMG hears in his head, and frankly, am too afraid to ask) This is good advice in any relationship. Not just husbands and wives or parents and kids.

4. Don't take yourself too seriously.
The Bible says to consider others better than yourselves (Phil. 2:3) Remembering this helps you too not take yourself too seriously. It is always good to laugh at yourself, because if you are not laughing at yourself then others are probably laughing at you.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

My Baby

I have done a lot of thinking, planning, preparing and worrying about my kids' adjustment to life in PNG. I think...hope...pray they will love it. I realized today that I will have to go through the same thing in 4 years with this precious baby when we come back here. She will remember nothing about America. She will probably experience some serious culture shock when she comes home. Actually, she will probably call New Guinea "home" and request repeatedly to go back. She will be perplexed as to why all the kids her age are wearing clothes, and will probably be terrified of the TV. Weird... Isn't she precious, though? And look at that cute diaper!

One thing I love about being a missionary is that it has taught me to be very thrifty. I shop almost entirely at yard sales, consignment sales and craigslist. I have learned to make all my household cleaners, and I use cloth diapers! Let me just tell you ladies that cloth diapers have come a LOOOOOOONNNGGG way! My friend Becky makes these, and she is quite the cloth diaper genius. I started using cloth diapers when we moved to the MTC and started living entirely on support. I liked it, but there were always little things about each diaper I tried that bothered me. Becky, was my neighbor at the time (and actually the one who got me into cloth diapering in the first place) and apparently fixed every problem that I had with other cloth diapers already on the market. I know that only a few of you who read this blog cloth diaper, so the rest of you can ignore this part, but for those of you who do...

Silly Willy Manilly... Try them! You will love them! They are trim, super absorbent, super soft, and really cute! Plus they dry in ONE dryer cycle! (Seriously, I was drying my bumgenius diapers like 3 times!) Plus, Becky is a really nice person. My husband calls her a "hippie". But she is not like a real hippie who doesn't shower, has dreadlocks, wears tie dyed t-shirts with The Grateful Dead bears on them, and smokes marijuana. She is a Christian mom who loves her family and wants to raise them naturally and healthy???...healthily??...healthfully???(how would you correctly say that??), and does so without being weird in the process. ***again, this is an untainted review. Becky is my friend, so her success makes me happy, but I am in no other way being rewarded for this post***

Anyway, sorry if that review was not relevant to you, but I have just become obsessed with these diapers and had to share! (I realize that being obsessed with something that my child defecates in is strange. I have issues. I know.)

Friday, April 8, 2011


I have recently been complaining to everyone that I have nothing to write about. I have been whining and sulking about that fact that we are STILL here in America, and I started this blog called "Tribal Wife" and have been thinking that I should change the name to "Schizophrenic Wife" because all that has happened in our lives has me walking a very fine line between stressed and psychotic.



We are officially leaving on May 4th. We are very very very excited. We are also very very very sad to be leaving all our friends and family. In fact, we just returned from our tour of Mississippi and Alabama to tell our loved ones goodbye. I did really well in holding it together until last night. Last night, when I realized that I would not return to the state of my birth and upbringing again for 4 years and would not see the people who surrounded said birth and upbringing again for 4 years, I lost it. I cried into my pillow until I heard the seven month old in the room stir in her bed, and I pulled it together real quick like because, let's just get honest, I needed a good night's sleep more than I needed a good cry.

I really do love being a missionary, and I have a feeling that even though I know there are difficult days ahead, I will love PNG. The only thing that could make this day more perfect is if everyone that I love and am close too, would tell me that they too have purchased plane tickets to New Guinea for May 4th. I may or may not have even been checking several people's facebook statuses to see if they were announcing this big news as well. So far, no luck. But there is still time, people. There is still time. I have already figured out how I am going to get my mom there...

I told you in the last post that my mom loves Ireland. My mom also loves sea turtles. She loves sea turtles almost as much as she loves Ireland. So mom, there you go. I expect a call in the next few days telling me you have purchased your tickets. The rest of you beware. I am coming up with a plan of attack that will get ALL of you to PNG with me soon! MUUHAHAHAHAHA!

All sinister laughter aside, we love you dear precious friends and family, and will miss you terribly, but on May 4th- we are out of here suckazzzzz!!!