Monday, February 27, 2012

Memory Monday- Wait for My Call

And here I am again...waiting for his call..."My Beloved" as he is listed in my list of contacts...has been in Ghana. I've been busy filling my life with so many things so that I won't have to miss him--- too much. 

Our system for his return is for me to wait for his call from the airport before I even leave the house. My house is only 15 minutes from the airport. This is one of the key elements of finding a house no matter which country we are in- how close to the airport can we get?

When living in Ghana, we lived very close. In fact, the way we found out if a plane had arrived was to simply stand on the roof of our house and look for the landing plane. 

"Okay KLM has arrived- let's jump in the van!"

"Sorry don't see Lufthansa yet- maybe there has been some delay"

Here in Washington State, we are 15 minutes away (driving). I have to actually check online to see if the flight has landed. Whether it lands or not, I patiently wait for the 'call'- the one which says, "Okay, I've cleared customs and immigration....start driving and meet me at the curb"....no standing at the escalator waiting for him to surface....no parking and 'wasting' 3 dollars (his words, not mine)....just picking up at the curb....and then once he is in the van all is right with the world. 

My Beloved holding our beloved granddaughter
No matter how many times we go through this- no matter what country we are in or we travel to- it never gets old. I always feel my heart pounding like a drum...faster and faster... and I always am overjoyed for him to finally be home. One day, when we are so old that neither of us have the ability to travel -- if that day will ever come -- I will cherish the memories of 'waiting for his call'....because they have been such a big part of my life.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Feature Friday- Belzy's Kitchen

I would like to feature a great blog for recipes. Belinda has a knack not only for cooking delicious food but also taking amazing pics of her food. Belinda is married to the love of her life- Todd. They are expecting their first child in September...wow a big congratulations to them! 
 
You can find her recipes at Belzy's Kitchen. 
When you visit Belinda's blog, be sure and tell her to keep updating her blog with more recipes- it has been a few months since she last posted. Of course, there are plenty of recipes on the blog to keep you busy. 
 
When I asked Belinda to choose one of her favorite dishes, she chose Peri Peri Chicken.  I hope you enjoy this recipe!!
 
Peri Peri Chicken

Ingredients:
6 piece chicken drumstick

Marinade Sauce:
1/2 cup olive oil
1 red bell pepper, small diced
2-3 tsps salt
70 ml apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
1 red chilli pepper
5 green thai bird's chilli, sliced
4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
Lemon juice from 1/2 lemon
2 tbsps oregano

Preparation:
1. Saute garlic and red bellpepper until fragrant over medium high heat. Pour in vinegar and lemon juice. Reduce the heat. Let it simmer for 10 minutes. Add in the remaining ingredients. Stir it for about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the stove.

2. Pour the chilli-vinegar mixture into a food processor or blender. Process it until fine and smooth. Keep it in the refrigerator and let it cool.

3. Place the chicken in the plastic bag (food saver bag). Pour 2/3 the cold chilli-vinegar mixture. And reserve the rest for additional condiment after the chicken is baked.

4. Marinate the chicken for 2 hours. Bake the chicken over 350F until both sides are brown. Once in a while bash the chicken with the marinade sauce. Don't forget to turn the chicken so it can baked evenly.

5. Serve it with rice and salad. Also, you can pour the reserved sauce over the chicken on the serving plate. Enjoy


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Wild Wednesday- More Love

In keeping with the whole 'love theme' I dug out some old photographs of my wedding day. I had to laugh at many of the photos, because I'm the most non-photogenic person around. In many of the pictures my eyes are blinking just when the camera is clicking. It was quite a feat to find some 'good' shots.

900 + people in a hall for 5000
Someone created a beautiful sign for us
Digging through the pictures, made me remember what an amazing day my wedding day was. 

When my hubby and I decided to get married, we hardly knew each other. We knew God had brought us together. We had around 300 Singapore dollars (approximately 150 US with the exchange rate in those days) between the two of us. How do you plan a wedding for almost a thousand people with that limited budget? 

This is where we saw God's Word to be true. He promises to supply all our needs according to HIS riches in Heaven. He certainly provided all our needs for the wedding. We never told a living soul how much money we had, we just said, "We are getting married" and then we proceeded to invite everyone. We started planning for the wedding in June and we were married the first of August. 

cutting the wedding cake
Every day proved to be a miracle. Someone called me up and said, "Where are you buying your cake?"  

I replied, "I'm checking out some options" 

"Don't bother, I'll buy your cake for you!"

The vows
Someone else called my husband and said, "God told me to buy your wedding suit."  

Another lady called me and said, "How many do you expect for your wedding?" 

"Around 900 or so." 

"Do you have a caterer." 

"uhm, you mean I have to feed people?" No, I didn't say that, but that was what I wanted to say. I actually said, "I haven't hired a caterer yet." 

"I was praying this morning and God told me to take care of the catering- so you don't worry about it!" 

Tick tick tick, slowly things were getting clicked off my  'to do' list...my grandmother's diamond was set in gold, which had been given to us with explicit instructions that it be melted down and made into wedding rings.

the beautiful gown
The wedding dress was quite amazing. My mom and I went into a boutique which was renowned for their wedding dresses. In Singapore (in those days) most brides just rented their wedding dress. I went to see if there were any dresses in my budget. I almost had a seizure when I saw the prices of the gowns. We were almost going to leave but the owner of the shop recognized my mom. She asked what we were doing there and my mom tried to politely excuse herself. 

The owner of the boutique said, "You know what....I want to custom make your daughter's wedding dress for free...I only ask that you acknowledge me on the wedding programme." 

"eh...em...sure...how do you spell your name??" 

"You may kiss the bride"
my mom,Daniel & me, my mother and father in law
"Can we go home now?"
The most stress free wedding ever. God provided every last detail for us. I just showed up and walked down the aisle. 

Its so good to remind myself of that day, because it was a small example of how God has continued to do amazing things throughout my life. I have found that there is nothing too insignificant that He ignores it; also, there is nothing too big that He can't handle it. He cares about the details and He also can handle the impossibilities. His love never ceases to amaze me!


Monday, February 13, 2012

Memory Monday- Love is in the Air

Since tomorrow is Valentine's Day- it seemed appropriate to re-run a memory about real love. So here is a re post of something that happened in Nepal in 1987.


Daniel was in New Delhi while Sean and I were up in Nepal. My hands were full juggling my toddler and making sure a team of people were taken care of. 

After running around getting bus rides secured for Pokhara and various other destinations....the team arrived. Everything went like clockwork and before I knew it they were gone. The day after the team left, I decided I would just relax. With a book in hand, I trotted outside and told Sean to play in the grass. My head was buried in my book for quite some time, a quick glance up every now and then told me Sean was fine. I must have gotten lost in the story, because the next thing I knew I heard screaming from around the house. I jumped up and ran towards the yelling.

There stood one of the young girls from the children's home. She was pulling Sean out of a hole- this wasn't just any hole- this was the cesspool- the place all the human refuse went into. Someone forgot to put the cover over the hole and Sean fell in. If the little girl didn't pull Sean out of the hole he would have drowned in that muck. I swooped him up in my arms. He was coughing. I couldn't be happier to hear him cough, because at least that meant he was alive! After a thorough shower, I thought all was going to be fine. Unfortunately, a few days later he lay sick in bed. He was dying. (literally)

My sister helped me get him to the hospital and after several blood tests and stool samples, the doctors were shocked. They said he had every kind of dysentery a person could have. I enlightened them about his trip down into the cesspool. Nothing more needed to be said. They informed me that he was very ill and might not survive. When you hear that your son might not survive, you just want your husband to be next to you- you want him to say "It's gonna be okay"

I told my sister to stay with Sean, and I rushed down to the Post Office and sent a telegram to India. "Sean dying. stop. Need your prayers. stop."

Daniel told me later, that he started crying when he received the telegram. He knew he wanted to put a little faith into action. He wanted to get up to Nepal to see me, but he had no money to pay for his ticket. His story is that he was kneeling at his bed praying with his hands lifted up in the air and his eye caught sight of his gold wedding ring. He stood up immediately and went to sell the ring so he could fly up to see me. 


A second problem he faced was that he had never been to Nepal and he had no idea where I was. He spoke with someone who had been there and they tried to explain the way to him.

"You take a taxi from the airport to Boudha, and then you tell them to keep driving past the Stupa, you'll see a huge red house and you keep going...then you'll see a white house....but that isn't the one yet...you go further, and finally you will see another white house and the house you want is behind that house."

Believe it or not, he found the right house! Love can make a man do impossible things. I had no idea he was coming. When I saw him standing in front of me, I just screamed and started blubbering. I scared the pants off the two Nepali men standing next to me. 

 
Sean eventually got better. Twelve years later we bought a new ring to replace the one Daniel sold. It never bothered me that he didn't have his original wedding ring, because every time I looked at his ring less finger, it reminded me of how much he loved Sean and me. 

Friday, February 10, 2012

Feature Friday- Gladys Aylward

There has been many a book written about this 'small' woman. There even was a Hollywood movie done about her life, which she later wished she had not allowed to go forward. Those involved with the movie took artistic license and changed the story. 


So what was her real story? A domestic worker who failed to get into a formal mission sending board. A woman who just was willing to go wherever God wanted her to go. Finally, she took her entire life's savings and bought herself a ticket to China. This 'insignificant' woman ended up touching many lives. 


 Gladys Aylward once said, " I wasn't God's first choice for what I've done for China. I don't know who it was. It must have been a man--a well educated man...I don't know what happened. Perhaps he died. Perhaps he wasn't willing. And God looked down...and saw Gladys Aylward, and God said, 'Well, she's willing.'" 

I, personally, think she was definitely God's first choice for all she put her hand to in China. Her willingness to do whatever needed to be done made her a powerful woman. As I said, there are many books written about her life, but I think the best one is, "The Little Woman" 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Wild Wednesday- What you see..

"One sees great things from the valley, only small things from the peak."
-  G. K. Chesterton



Perspective is such an interesting topic. A person's perspective can change their approach to a situation. Also, only seeing part of the picture often has an adverse effect on our decisions and emotions.

view from my kitchen window

Standing at my kitchen window, I look out on a wonderfully relaxing view. A large piece of land, scattered with trees, sprawls out behind my house. Birds flutter around perching for short moments on the building facing my house. I love the view from my kitchen window...it relaxes me. But you see, this is not the full view of where I live. The kitchen is situated on the back side of the house; if I were only looking through this window I see a partial view of where I live. 

I could stand here all day
I must open the front door and look outside. There is a totally different view on the other side. Trees huddle together behind edifices. Houses are squished together and cars stand duty, lining the sides of the street. This view makes me feel like I have to jump in my car so I can start doing all the busy, busy things I need to do. Actually, the view makes me want to run back to my kitchen window.

Neither view is incorrect, or false, each view contains only part of the picture. If I were to choose to focus on one or the other perspective, I would fail to see the full picture. Often in life, I look at things which occur from only one window or through one door, and I miss out on the full picture. My human limitation often blinds me from seeing the full view. I'm just glad to know there is someone who knows everything and has seen everything.  Psalms 147:5 reminds me: Great is our Lord and mighty in power; His understanding has no limit. My vision might be limited, but at least His isn't. 

When I look at a problem in my life and think there is no solution, He has already lifted His head and looked down the road. He has seen the solution and the future. He has already provided good things for me.
 
Jeremiah 29:11 " For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Monday, February 6, 2012

Memory Monday- Speaking of

This is supposed to be 'Memory Monday'- a day I retrieve a memory from my past- or capture a memory in my present which I want to preserve carefully. So many events, episodes and encounters have passed through my life but not all of them are even worth remembering. Some, let's just be honest, are actually best forgotten. 

I was thinking this morning.....what are one of my best memories...I mean like the one memory in my life which would go into my "Memory Hall of Fame"? I have so many great memories, but which memory can compete for first prize? Have you ever thought of that? Like if right now I said to you- what is your absolutely best memory of all time- would you be able to give me a quick answer? 

Either I have too many superb memories or I don't have enough spectacular ones, because my brain is not spitting out a NUMBER ONE yet. I've been sitting staring at this screen- and I have a jumble of wonderful memories with no front runners. I mean, how do I choose one above the other? 

It is silly- but one memory sort of pushes against all the others and peeks out. It waves at me...but I am trying to ignore it because I think, "That isn't anything that special!"....but why does this particular memory always make me feel so good and make me smile? It's a short, itty bitty memory- but it must be quite powerful.

I was ten...it was actually my tenth birthday...and my mom told me she would take me out to buy me a present. This would be a 'just me and mom' day- wow- that was unheard of- aside from me being the youngest of five kids, my parents had their hands full with a million other people. So here was my mom taking me - all by myself- to go shopping! 

Serangoon Gardens
I think Tip Top was next to Captain's Cabin
We drove down to Serangoon Gardens and walked around to a watch shop. This shop was a little box outside on the walk way. My mom said, "Which watch do you think looks nice." I timidly pointed to one that just jumped out at me. Before I knew what was happening, my mom purchased the watch as my birthday present. I was beside myself, not only was I getting to spend the day with my mom (all by myself) but I was getting a watch for my birthday! Could things get any better? Oh, yes they could get better and they did.


My mom walked me to "Tip Top" a small coffee shop. I thought my heart was going to leap out of my chest, I was so happy. I sat very prim and proper and tried to look like I was a regular "Tip Top" customer. 


"Should we have the Merry Widow?" Okay, now I knew I was dead and had gone to heaven, my mom was offering me my favorite dessert of all time. I thought she was going to order one and we would share it, but no, she ordered one for each of us!


So, that is it- the simple memory that peeks out- it might not be fantabulous or super amazing- but I think it just might be one of the front runners for first prize....the jury is still out on this....but it seems to be holding its own.


How about you? What is a good memory which sticks out in your mind?

Friday, February 3, 2012

Feature Friday- The Peking Stitch

Several years ago, I wrote a book about my grandmother. Her story is a fascinating story and I enjoyed researching and writing it. When I finished the project, I was left with bins and bins of research. Newspaper articles, history notes and scribbles about life in China during the first part of the 1900's. 

As I flipped through the research, it occurred to me this material could be used to write a fictional story.  This is when Mei Ling introduced herself to me...she rose up from the crinkled pages of my research and pranced through my brain. She teased me from the old photographs I held.  She prodded me day and night until, The Peking Stitch was conceived.


I sat with my daughters and we discussed Mei Ling and her life. We met her father and her mother. We followed her into her society parties and felt her heart breaks.  


I only regretted I was not a fictional writer- I've never pretended to be. Non-fiction has been a medium I'm more comfortable with. The moment I try my hand at fiction, the characters move robotic-ally across the page. So after chapter four of The Peking Stitch, I shoved the manuscript into a drawer and forgot all about it.

Lately, Mei Ling has been calling me. She wants to get out of the drawer. She feels stifled in there. She seems to be saying, "Okay you might not be the best person to introduce me to others, but at least let me meet them!" 

So....I've agreed...I released her....On the 21st of  Jan, 2012...I allowed Mei Ling to emerge ever so slowly. A bit of a chapter in one post, another little bit in another post....you can meet Mei Ling at The Peking Stitch. Be sure to start at the beginning and remember, this will be an ongoing project....I'd love to have you join me on this endeavor.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Wild Wednesday- Murky Soup- Part II

My red headed granddaughter
The wonderful parents
ah...now it makes sense!
Ah, yes, DNA is a murky soup, when you begin to stir it around you never know what you will find inside. I remember when my granddaughter was born and she came out with bright red hair, everyone was surprised- after all, both her parents did not look like they would be able to produce such a child. When people meet me, then they say, "OKAY...now we understand why she looks the way she does!" 

my mother in law with my neice
my husband with our darling Kailynn
As for my husband, he tends to take after his mom. So no wonder we did not want to believe the original Y-DNA test results.  We could not argue when the second set of tests came back for his dad. The Y-DNA test reconfirmed what my husband's test had already said. Two different companies had done the same test using my husband's DNA and my father-in-law's DNA and the Y-DNA showed there was definitely a Caucasian link. Now we waited for my father-in-law's mitochondrial DNA test results.

Sigh...we waited...and waited...and then the results arrived. We opened it up and it was confirmed once and for all that my father-in-law was not Chinese. His mitochondrial DNA showed a link to several different groups- but Chinese were not amongst those groups. A pointer to North Indian descent seemed to be evident and that plus the stories which had circulated around my father-in-law when he grew up, made us think this could be a possible option. 

Now we held answers in our hands....and yet...these answers only opened up so many new questions. How in the world did my father-in-law come into the home of his 'adoptive' parents. Why did they not tell him his  real origin? Why had they kept it a secret? The answers did bring some clarity to why certain things happened- like when my father-in-law's father passed away he was not left any inheritance. It always seemed a bit strange but he had thought, "Oh it was because maybe he was not my real father"- but then when his mother passed away and was also left 'out' of the will, this made him curious. Now, with the DNA results in hand, it made a bit more sense. 


The DNA results from the paternal line were uploaded on an internet data base this allowed for possible connections. The closest 'cousins' were named "King" and "Galbraith"- the connection was so close that there had to be some link. More questions arose and more research needed to be done. When we discussed the results with my father in law, we did not tell him about the possible surnames we discovered. 

He was shocked to hear that he was not Chinese.  After the shock wore off, he said, "You know what....when I was a young boy people in my town would say that I belonged to a particular house and I should go there since that is where I was from"- we asked him if he knew who was living in that house. He said, "Of course, a British man." 


"What was their name?"


"Their surname was King"



We had found a possible answer to at least one of our questions. In the years since our discovery, we have done more research.  We were never able to find any definite links to the mitochondrial DNA. We have discovered few more answers, but it seems this murky soup of DNA produces far more questions than answers. It has been an interesting concoction.

*Original tests were done by ancestry.com
 Subsequent tests were done by familytreedna.com

....And then there were more...

We started with two. It didn't take long for us to add three more to the mix, making us ongfamily5 for quite a long time. Before we kn...