Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Since we have nothing remotely close to a Wal-Mart here, much less a Krispy Kreme shop [the place where we regularly buy groceries is smaller than my living room], when a a girl gets the urge for a special treat, a girl has to learn to make it herself.

Last Thursday, that special treat was doughnuts...warm, delicious, melt-in-your-mouth doughnuts. I saw a recipe online that didn't look too tricky, so I gave it a try.

Many steps were involved, but thankfully I had planned ahead and just fit all of the steps into my day.

After breakfast, I mixed the dough and let it refrigerate until just before dinner time. After I prepped my dinner and had that in the oven, I rolled out the dough and cut it into circles, using a plastic cup for the large circle and a child's medicine cup for the hole. Then, I set the doughnuts aside to let them rise for an hour.

After dinner, the dough was looking light and puffy, so we warmed up our oil and started frying.

I fried each doughnut for about a minute on each side and then set them out to cool.

Then I glazed them.

Then...we ATE them. (Don't worry - not all of them!)

And, man did they taste good!

Yea for doughnuts cooked in your own kitchen!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Emotional Roller Coaster

My emotional life has been chock-full of ups and downs lately. Most days, I feel happy, energized, and settled living my missionary wife/mom life all the way over here in Africa; but other days I feel sad, exhausted, and homesick.

The good news is that, even during those low points, I’ve never considered buying a plane ticket back to America. I know for certain that God has called our family to live and serve Him here in Tanzania. But I must admit, on a few of those low-point days, I have considered pulling the covers over my head and letting the day go on without me.

I’ve been contemplating whether or not I should blog about this topic for a few weeks now. It is ever so tempting (nasty pride!) to continually portray myself as someone who has it all together – you know, the life-is-always-good “super mom” type. I tell myself that I don’t want to burden my family and friends with my roller-coaster emotions. They all have busy lives. And what if they think I’m a lunatic? Or what if they think I’m just being whiny? So, I talked myself out of it.

However, during a recent women’s Bible study with some other missionary women, I was convicted about this topic. One of the ladies, a veteran missionary here in Tanzania, wisely encouraged us all to be willing to share both the highs AND lows of our lives with our friends and ministry partners back home. They need to know that we have many struggles living here in a different culture and that life isn’t always rosy. They need to know how to intercede for us and encourage us. They need to know that we still need them even though we’re far away.

Right there and then, I decided that I should write this post after all. I want you all to know that while I love living and serving here, life can be challenging. So, when you think of us over here, say a prayer for us. We need it.

At times, life does feel like a roller coaster, but I am always encouraged when I remember that we serve an unchanging God, who never struggles and who offers peace whenever we call out to Him.

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I give you is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 (NLT)

The Holy Spirit often brings this bit of Scripture to my mind during the low points, and it is always an encouragement. It reminds me that when I’m tired, struggling emotionally, and I don’t think I can carry my burdens anymore; I need to run to Him. Jesus offers me one side of His perfectly-designed yoke. He wants me to keep serving and moving forward, but He’ll be there to pull right along with me. He’ll shoulder my burden, and I’ll find the rest for my soul that I so desperately need.

That’s good stuff.

So, now that I’ve rambled about how I’m doing these days. How are you? I’d love to hear from you.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mexican Feast

We love Mexican food (if you haven't figured that out already from previous posts)! And we love cooking it for other people.

Today, I had the opportunity to cook a big Mexican lunch for our Burunge colleagues here in Dodoma. The team has just finished their consultant check of Genesis 25-50, so Paul and I decided it would be fun to thank everyone for their hard work by hosting a taco feast.

I served soft tacos, Spanish rice, refried beans, guacamole, salsa, and chips.

For several of our friends, this was their first time to eat Mexican food. And they loved it! One of the men even asked me if I'd teach his wife how to make food like this.

Here are a few pictures:
Mexican buffet

Lukas trying out the refried beans

Pastor Emmanuel

A full stomach for everyone!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mama Ruthi

Our family is beyond blessed to employ a wonderful house helper, Mama Ruthi. Mama Ruthi works in our home several mornings a week helping me with cleaning, cooking, and a bit of child care.To some, it may seem strange that a mostly stay-at-home mom would need a house helper. Well, no, I probably don't need to employ her, but as Westerners living in Tanzania, the community would see us as "selfish" and "stingy" if we didn't employ someone in our home.

By employing one or more house helpers (some expats have a staff of 2 or more, especially if they have large homes or work full-time), we are helping women feed and clothe their families, get better medical care, and save for retirement. So, while I am capable of caring for a home on my own (and rather enjoy it), I am very happy to be investing in the lives of a wonderful Tanzanian family.

And it must be said that Mama Ruthi makes amazing bread, granola, tortillas, yogurt, and much more. She's a great cook. And we all adore her.

A few weeks ago, we had the opportunity to visit Mama Ruthi and her family in their home. We enjoyed meeting her children and husband, and she served us one of her delicious meals. After lunch, I got the camera out to take some pictures, and her boys had a ball taking lots of pictures of their own. (Digital cameras are the best!)

Here are a few pictures from our visit:

Mama Ruthi showing Josiah how to grill fresh maize.
Mama Ruthi served us ndizi (plantains), cabbage, and coconut rice. We enjoyed this meal so much that we now have her cook this for us once a week. :)
Baba Ruthi (Mama Ruthi's husband) eating his meal. Baba Ruthi works for a mining company and is away from home often. We were happy that he was at home this particular weekend, so we were able to meet him.
Mama Ruthi's niece. It is common for Tanzanians to take in their relatives' children, especially if they live in a town with better schools or job opportunities (like Dodoma).
Ruthi (Mama Ruthi's eldest child) playing with Anna.
The boys had fun posing on our Land Cruiser.
They also enjoyed taking pictures of themselves with our camera.
Me and the kids with the whole family.

Visiting can be a lot of fun!