Thursday, January 31, 2019

Healthier on the inside than out

Thursday, January 20, 2019
EvaMarie comes in the morning, fresh off the plane from Poland. She naps in the afternoon while I write and comes to the study with us in the evening. Both of us are tired by the time night comes. I'm thinking of this weekend's theme - new beginnings. (This is what a few attendees will make on Saturday with paper, string, glue, and flowers...)

In the morning, I'm in the office. After lunch, it's time for book club. This month we are reading Little Fires Everywhere, a book about family, artists, and society's expectations. We have a great discussion. One of the strengths of the group is that we have many backgrounds - Western, Thai, Indonesian, Indian ... and each woman brings her perspective to the reading. We celebrate birthdays as well.

In the evening, Eva and I have a working supper, going through the schedule for the week. The night is balmy.

I'm sorry to miss a friend's birthday; sometimes I want a body double.

W comes home from 2 weeks in Singapore. He had a blast teaching but we are always happy to be home together.

We have Community Dinner in the evening - hurrah! As always, we enjoy the company, the Presence, and the activities.
Eva introduces herself and tells a bit about what she's doing on her world trip. Many attendees are also global citizens - or will be in the future.
 The food - beef rendang - is delicious. (Thanks, Della.)
I hug a few people with the flu and feel it - yup, it's coming.

W speaks at the international church in the morning. Afterward, we are affirmed by attendees as their longterm pastors. The surprises of God are - well, surprises. Last year, we could not have guessed this. (We were still enjoying Terry and Sandy's leadership. They're back in Canada, working away nearer their families and on their own ongoing adventures with Jesus.)

For lunch, about 30 people hang out at our place. We order pizza in, but I make salad and have dessert ready. Of course, setting the kitchen up is part of it all. As I work, I can feel a tickle in my throat and my head is starting to ache.

We have a study, a meeting, and then it's late afternoon. I don't have much appetite for supper - the flu - complete with headache and aching gums - starts to take over, so I read and try to sleep.

Full flu mode. I stay in bed. No sense in prolonging this. I send the IC newsletter and do correspondence - but that's about all I can manage. W does the food shopping from my list. (My hero) When he asks if we should cancel, it's a firm no. Let's do this - the group hasn't been together since early December ... it's time for them to hang out together.

Movie night! Hurrah! I haven't been asleep since 11:30 last night, so at 5:30am I stop pretending its going to happen. I get to work. When I send a "help, please pray" to some friends, they promise they will. That helps.

I cook a bare minimum: 3 meats (chicken, sausage, meatballs) and three egg-cheese-bread-sausage casseroles. I strike pasta and complicated or long-cooking dishes off the menu.

We're in the office for a morning meeting - but by then most of the cooking is done. We come home for lunch and the food is cooking along. I write out a to-do list for the helpers, who arrive at 3pm.

  • salad daun (leaf salad)
  • nasi merah (red rice)
  • nasi putih (white rice)
  • sayuran dengan tahu (Tofu and veges)
  • tempeh ++ (do whatever you want with tempeh - they make it spicy and garlicky)
  • buah dan yogurt (fruit - with a little picture of how it should be cut)
  • memotong kue (cut the cake)

Hardworking awesomeness: Ibus Sumi and Apong, jumping in front of the food line for a requested photo.
Hopefully that list helps! Gradually (in a culture of hearing instructions instead of reading them), the helpers are using the fridge checklist, so I don't have to keep reminding them what is on the menu.
 About 70 show up tonight - a lively group. I refuse the traditional cheek-to-cheek greetings and hugs.
 "I'm a good mother - I only give you good things. The flu is not good. So no hugs tonight." The guests back away with a smile.

 The helpers and I clear the meal and set up the birthday dessert (for Josh and four or five others) for intermission. Kat, Josh's daughter, decorates his birthday cake with her mom.
Before intermission, I glance around one more time. I go to bed and leave them to having fun.
I should have warned the satpams to be on duty and dole out 3 desserts, as the sign requests. (Satpam = sentry or guard - we joke about that with the helpers, who sometimes have to do portion control.) W tells me later that some kids heaped their plates with 7 or more pieces of cake and the last ones had none. Oh dear. (Not the ones below - hehe)
We have 4 boxes of homebaked cookies in the fridge - I could have pulled them out and everyone would have had plenty of sweets. W and the helper (who typically uses 2-4 lbs of butter plus who-knows-how-much sugar and flour a week) don't think of that ... we're always learning and improving our serve together.
It's a noisy and happy bunch today. The young people stay and talk until after 10:30pm. W shushes them outside the gate - they're having so much fun as they wait for their Gojek and Grab taxis, but it can disturb the older neighbors who have long since fallen asleep and will be awake by 4:30am.

We shoot some videos, Eva edits media for a few charities, and I rest. I felt way better until I got up ... hehe. Typical flu bug. At least it's predictable. "Stay away!" I think when people come near.

K and I have a long and happy call in the morning. My voice is coming back - and my throat is less sore. We visit a bit with Eva and DrH on the porch - with gorgeous sunshine and birdsong. It's a perfect morning. When Eva leaves, I have to cancel lunch and head back to bed to rest.

W mentions his throat feels scratchy and lies down on the chaise on the porch. Oh oh!

Read more:
*Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty? They are higher than the heavens above—what can you do? They are deeper than the depths below—what can you know? Their measure is longer than the earth and wider than the sea. Job 11:7-9 NIV

*The Lord has been mindful of us; he will bless us. Psalm 115:12

*Rejoice that your names are written in heaven. Luke 10:20

[so be aware that ...] *Rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Proverbs 12:18 
*Look at ships: though they are so large that it takes strong winds to drive them, yet they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great exploits. James 3:4-5
Moravian Prayer: Lord, bless us as we live everyday to do the deeds you have set before us—for heaven has our names and is waiting for us.
Loving Teacher, help us also to pray before we speak harsh words that we cannot take back, ever-reminding us that words hurt, and we are sometimes slow to heal. Give us strength to forgive those whose words are like swords to our hearts. We look to you for your continuous love. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Sunny days, rainy afternoons.

The sun shines in most mornings.
 On the street, the snake plant (mother-in-law's tongue, etc.) is in full bloom.
A day or two have come and gone. Well, maybe it's been a few weeks since I blogged ... with new babies, a few hospital visits, and friends speaking words of encouragement between.

In the evening, I go to a Young Adults farewell for Jakob and Dayana. Over 25 people are hanging out. It's a wonderful time!

It's a joy to recruit a team lead - she's gifted, willing to experiment, and already hard at work. Doesn't get better than that.

Another evening farewell party, this time a birthday for Rueben and a farewell for Jakob and Dayana, who have worked with them for several months. It's a delicious meal, complete with the traditional nasi cunning (yellow rice).

After speaking on Noah, I pop in on Josh's class about what it means to follow Jesus. He does a good job and the class is attentive.
We pray together for our friends, who head home to Austria this week. Parents of the youth group have brought cakes today.

We sing Happy Birthday to a sweet 7-yr old, who even gets to blow out a candle (one of the anti-fly ones we light near the food).
Afterward, several of us go for lunch, talking about a future project. And at 5, one last and pleasurable meeting = supper with dear friends, one Chinese teacher who's returned to Indonesia from her homeland, and the other a head of an English center.

WuJin has brought back a lovely clay pot, with the artist's chop on the bottom, and some hand-painted teacups. Perfect for a good cup of tea.

The beautiful flower arrangement livens up the room as people come and go. We have a morning study, a meeting, and some guests over for a busy day.
Tuesday morning, I make a quick trip downtown to Pasar Baru (New Market), the central Bandung market for clothing, household goods, and other necessities. Many wholesalers purchase from vendors here. I'm looking for upholstery fabric to cover a few chairs. Shall I get this, or this, or this?

None fits what's in my mind. I go home empty-handed and worn out from the noise and color. Whew - nice to pull into the driveway, that's for sure.

The dog's been biting himself - he gets nervous from thunder and lightning that accompanies rainy season. He tears the hair off a 6"X4" patch of skin. We order a flexible dog cone online. American friends have offered to bring us a favorite snack next months on their visit, but they're happy to bring the collar instead.
Our Jakarta friends are in town for a conference. Between sessions, they come up the hill to Miss Bee for supper. Love these faces! I walk to the restaurant and back, a few minutes from the house - which helps make up for sitting much of the day.

Meetings - good ones, productive and positive. What's not to love? I finish editing my book and send off a copy to my editor.

A few squiggles to mark up the page for the day - and leaves from the garden = a touch of art and beauty.

Read more:
*I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart; before the “gods” I will sing your praise. I will bow down toward your holy temple and will praise your name for your unfailing love and your faithfulness, for you have so exalted your solemn decree that it surpasses your fame. When I called, you answered me; you greatly emboldened me.

May all the kings of the earth praise you, Lord, when they hear what you have decreed. Psalm 138:1-4 NIV

*I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them. Ezekiel 37:28
*Christ Jesus came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. Ephesians 2:17
*Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. James 4:8
Moravian Prayer: Holy compassionate One, who restores our souls—please hear our prayers, forgive us, and keep us in your care.
Christ Jesus, you bring your proclamation of peace to all the nations. We pray they listen to your voice and abide in you. Amen.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

What's next?

Monday, January 7, 2019
Friends of our celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary today. The world has changed since their wedding, no doubt about it. Congratulations, Dave and Gigi!

I always look forward to a Monday morning call with my friend and mentor. We haven't talked for a few weeks and both of us are weary. So it's nice to relax, catch up on the prayer list, and thank God together that the holidays have come and gone.

W and I have the privilege of listening to Jakob and Dayana, who are speaking next Sunday. I feel enriched, tuning in to what's coming up for the BIC family.

A new Indian restaurant has opened in town. You'd think, with about 5 million hungry people plus Jakarta coming here on the weekends, that Bandung would have the best pick of restaurants. There are a lot of Indonesian choices, but few truly great foreign ones.

We all meet with Dr H, Josh and Clau over lunch at Spice Affair. It's a cousin restaurant to our Jakarta favorite Queen, so of course it's delicious. And the food tastes authentic. Most restaurants here end up tasting similar since many local chefs never travel abroad; they use spices familiar to them.

Tuesday and Wednesday
Our errands Tuesday morning take longer than expected, but we're home for a late lunch with some kitchen purchases. A generous women's organization sent funds for house set-up. A few months ago, we purchased a huge pot (saving me over an hour each month in movie-night prep) and other essentials. Sometimes I feel like we run a restaurant. We finally decide on a buffet heater. Here, most food is left out to cool (in 80+o ambient temp) after cooking, probably not the best plan for healthy digestion. I keep running out of big serving dishes, so this - thanks ladies! - will take care of that.

I'm eating heating healthier. That means a few evening hours of prep - cooking grains, looking at healthier recipes, and thinking ahead to meals. Usually, it's one meal to another, but trying to eat more whole foods means more deliberate foresight.

Breakfast is good: a homemade whole-grain waffle with fruit. The blackberries come from the freezer at a SDA store; the mangoes are local.
 I'm also planning the next year, starting with the new few months. This is a natural and comfortable activity: I like to look back at what's happened, lay out possibilities, and dream of what might be accomplished. Next step is putting those intentions into workable habits.

Can't remember where I found this, but it's an ideal bird to-do list, isn't it? Wish my list was this short and succinct. At the turn of the year, I think about what is done and left undone - and what is coming.
One of my friends encourages me to spend a few hours thinking about doors possibly closing in the future. That way, we are not caught off guard by redirection, but move ahead whether opportunities materialize, morph, or disappear entirely. She's a genius, I think.

For those of you who are stuck or not sure you can accomplish what God seems to be asking of you, here's a hint from Chandler Bolt, whose blog I appreciate and often read:
Truth be told, I can't quite wrap my head around wanting to hear my own voice every day, but oh well. Maybe.

We're happy when visitors stop by the house or office for counseling, and for non-profit stuff. There's so much going on - so many people are serving locally and globally that my heart just sings.

Seems like a lot of people have been sick lately with dengue, typhoid fever, asthma, and other conditions. Most locals blame their low resistant to disease to the transition of weather, from dry to wet and back again.

We drop by to say hi and pray for those we know.

Read more:
*Take care, or you will be seduced into turning away, serving other gods and worshipping them. Deuteronomy 11:16

*A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.
The eyes of the Lord are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.
The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit. Proverbs 15:1-4 NIV
*You have looked for much, and, lo, it came to little; and when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why? says the Lord of hosts. Because my house lies in ruins, while all of you hurry off to your own houses. Haggai 1:9
*Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Romans 12:11
*For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.  Galatians 5:1
Moravian Prayer: Holy God, whatever you command of us, let our whole heart be joyful, ready, and willing to do your work to your glory. Let us go forth this day and shine your light to others. 
Breaker of oppressions—destroy our allegiance to the lesser gods of our world; prevent us from submitting to yokes of affluence, pride, fame, or power—enfold us in your love which frees us to live forever. For yours are the power and the glory forever. Amen.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Ah, relax!

Thursday, January 4, 2018
We're at Gracia Resort for 2 days and 3 nights, courtesy of (a gift) from our study groups. W and I don't realize how much we need to leave town - even to go an hour away in the hills. The road in looks unpromising.
The resort is beautiful. The Christmas decor is a bit over the top, especially since I put all of mine away this morning.
 The foyer is red from top to bottom.
We have time while we're away to reflect on how much we love the city where we live. I also think through the coming months. When the pressure's off, ideas fly around my head and land in good order.
The hot springs are clean and well-maintained. It's another world, quiet and cool. Practically perfect.

The breakfast buffet is pretty. There is rice porridge, fruit, and breads. And the main course is from a menu.
Breakfast looks as expected. Since Muslim restaurants serve no pork, the beef bacon changes the taste.
I love chicken porridge - but later, I walk by the plate of eggs I put in my bowl. I guess a few flies never hurt anyone. They must have been chased away by the people just before me. I wish the restaurant would cover the food.
Waldemar is happy repairing the menus - he tightens the screws with his spoon.
We go for a walk through the nearby town, where we see all kinds of interesting things.
The cauliflower fields have just been harvested. And there's a Dutch-style house with plaited bamboo siding.
We swim in the afternoon. I've always loved to relax in the water. It carries me, soothes me. We stay by the pool as the sun goes down.
The crew lights the bonfire for the evening. They sprinkle the wood with a heavy gas - bbq lighter fluid - for a fast flame. The smoke drifts over the pools and hangs over the swimmers in the water. Wow. I'm glad to be sitting on the side.
The young girls  and women are covered from head to foot, while their brothers and fathers wear Western-style shorts, some with T-shirts.

It's our last morning. We take advantage of it with a restful soak in the hot tub, scooping out the little flies that land on the water every few minutes. We bought a bamboo bird's nest at a shop yesterday and it works great at catching them.
Beside the swimming pool, I quickly sketch the fountain that we love to sit under. The page is bent and I have only a few minutes. I'll remember this memory though.
We will miss our private little teras with the hot tub off our bedroom.
 And we'll miss the perch above the resort pools, where we ate our breakfasts.
We say farewell to this beautiful spot. We have happy memories to go with the place. (Thanks, friends. What a lovely surprise this was.)

W and I speak together in the morning - our topic is Creation. This month we're examining "New Beginnings," appropriate for the New Year. Next week, Jakob and Dayana will speak on Adam and Eve. Can't wait. After that, we'll talk about humanity's fresh start with Noah, and recovering from tragedy with Job.

BIC has finished raising a Christmas gift for two charitable projects. They are disbursed today. We are so proud of the community.
In the afternoon, I get an art surge. Usually that happens after an idea floats around my head for a few days. Then I get up-and-at-'em. Oh oh. I've been pondering how to decorate the back bathroom. I haul out my lovely MOLTOW acrylic markers and write all over the walls with whatever pops into my mind. Makes me happy - and I don't have to think about those walls again.
Read more:
*Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. Isaiah 60:1
*“O that my people would listen to me.” Psalm 81:13
*Before me every knee will bow; by me every tongue will swear. They will say of me, ‘In the Lord alone are deliverance and strength.’  Isaiah 45:23-24
*The grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all, training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and in the present age to live lives that are self-controlled, upright, and godly. Titus 2:11-12
*“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty. Revelation 1:8
Moravian Prayer: Almighty God, you truly are the one and only who can forgive us and love us unconditionally. We pray that we will always praise your name to everyone we meet. Give us strength for the day.
O Guardian of our very being, we strive to hear you, though our thoughts go astray. Please help us to have the self-control to listen when you call. Amen.