Time is Ticking

This week has certainly been a whirlwind. Last Saturday, we hosted the last team meeting to be held in our home. Last Sunday we hosted one of our last house church meetings to be at our home. Jeremy and Katie Daggett arrived on Wednesday morning (YAY!!!), and they are our last house guests before my parents arrive for the final move. Saturday evening, I hosted the last women’s meeting to be held in my home. Do you hear that word? Last, last, last.

First of all, we are thrilled that Team Arequipa 2.0 is almost all here (the last family is flying to Peru AS I TYPE THIS). This is something we have been waiting for a long time to see, and it is so surreal to finally be happening. We were absolutely stoked to host the Daggetts when they came in this past week. They are supported by the same sending church as our team which makes the connection pretty special.

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our posters for greeting the Daggetts into the guest room (aka Cohen’s room)
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our posters for greeting the Daggetts into the guest room (aka Cohen’s room)

Yesterday, Sunday afternoon, I went to town on packing. You see, we are about to take our last “trip” to the states. My little brother gets married on Saturday, and we are blessed to be able to go back and take part in the celebration. But the return flight to Peru will be the last for a long while. Each family member gets to take 2 suitcases on this trip so I have gone to town on trying to get our family’s cherished belongings packed up. This trip will be no exception. We will go to the states with 10 full cases, and we will return to Peru with just about nothing in them (except for maybe some Thanksgiving ingredients). 😉

I know I am not alone in this, but a house doesn’t feel like a home until the pictures are put on the walls. Well, since yesterday, I took some major steps to making this house feel less homey.

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our posters for greeting the Daggetts into the guest room (aka Cohen’s room)

But I have also come to learn, that “homey” for me is associated with memories. And boy have we made some memories in this place. I love this decoration that we made at a celebration Sunday a couple of years ago. Those little hands have grown since then.

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And even though the walls make our home seem so strange because they are now bare, the kitchen is still the heart of our home. I haven’t cleaned out in there, and it is where hospitality happens. Many meals have been prepared for friends and strangers in that kitchen over the years. It will be a weird feeling when I have to pack the kitchen up.

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I feel like we are definitely heading into a new chapter. I can remember taking pictures of our family of three to be framed for our new Peruvian home when we moved here six years ago. Now they are stacked in a pile, and I am waiting to see if there is room to pack all of them to return to our next home in the US.

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The bags are almost all packed. Greg has separated all of his library into 50 pound groupings. It is hard to believe that we will be traveling over a continent with our life in suitcases. But the memories have certainly been made, and time keeps ticking. I will be a big ole bag of emotions when we come back as I deal with the final leg of our lives here, but I am so very thankful to have had this chapter in Peru as part of our journey. We are overwhelmingly blessed.

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This is the first Christmas present that our sweet teammates gave us in our time here in AQP. It is a sillar (volcanic rock) clock. It still hangs on the wall, but it will be making that final trip with us when we leave in January. I don’t know where we will be living this time next year, but I am certain that this clock will be hanging on the wall, and time will keep ticking…

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Time is Ticking

Sibling days in AQP

 

The last week of September, I paid for a family photo session. I am so happy with the images the Eternity Fotos produced for our family. These are memories that I will forever cherish–my kids in their final months of this chapter of our lives. She caught many images of the three of them together. They fight as much as they love on each other, but for this photo shoot, I was thankful to see the side of love in them.
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Sibling days in AQP

Culture Shock

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ahhhhhhhhhhhh!!!
cul·ture shock
noun
  1. the feeling of disorientation experienced by someone who is suddenly subjected to an unfamiliar culture, way of life, or set of attitudes.
    I have been thinking about culture shock a lot recently. As missionaries moving to a foreign culture, it is something that you count on experiencing. The scary thing about it is that you don’t know how it will play out in your particular circumstances and for how long. Culture shock makes you grumpy and sometimes causes you to act in a way that you wouldn’t normally act–like reacting strongly to little things that don’t really matter. Culture shock can slowly build over time and cause you to reach an explosion point. Attitudes stink, emotions are heightened, ugly words are spoken, feelings are hurt… culture shock is not fun.
    I have been thinking a lot about it lately because of our new teammates’ arrivals. I think back to how everything was so new and exciting when we arrived but how slowly culture shock crept in among us. It is interesting to sit back and observe my new teammates as they arrive with the same excitement, but how many of them are experiencing the frustrations of not fully understanding the culture here. Culture learning is a significant part of adjustment to a new home in a foreign country. Our team is doing a 3 month long intensive culture study of various elements in the culture. Sometimes understanding where people are coming from helps to give more patience in those times of “I hate it here, because I just don’t get it!”
    Just today, I walked into the city center to locate two items: bubble wrap and cardboard tubes (for storing some of our posters and paintings for travel). I asked FIVE different Peruvians where I could locate these items, and they all sent me to the wrong area to buy them. Sixth one was the charm for me today. I have been here six years, and I still experience major frustrations with things like this. I remember Bill Richardson, our team mentor, telling us to prioritize a list of things that need to get done in the day. He told us that if we accomplished one of those things, it was a good day. Sometimes it takes a significant part of the morning to locate bubble wrap and tubes. 🙂
    On the flip side, I am thinking a lot about reentry to our host culture. Though many things drive me crazy here, many things in this foreign culture have become our norm for living. In just a few months, we will again experience what they call “reverse culture shock.” I am curious and scared how that will play out in our lives. But I know that I will have to be just as aware of it as when we made our move to Peru.
    If you are a Christian and you read this, please pray for our new teammates as they go through culture shock. Pray for patience toward each other and those that they live near. Pray for them to learn to understand more fully the worldview of Peruvians.
    Also, I ask for your prayers on our behalf. It will be a huge adjustment to go back to things in our home culture. For our children, Peru is their norm. Living in the U.S. will be very different in what they are used to here. Punctuality is different, school routines are different, social cues can be different. Sometimes, when you constantly feel the differences, it makes you super cranky. I expect those days to come, and I can only depend on the Spirit to help me change my attitude when it happens.
Culture Shock

A house church morning

It looks different every week. We meet with the other groups in a bigger location once a month. I usually take pictures at that gathering, but this morning I thought I would capture some moments from a typical house church morning here in the casa. God has blessed us with a home in our years here to be able to host a larger group. We have started a rotation with other homes just recently, but Greg and I spent the majority of our house church mornings the last three years hosting the group in ASA.

We love these people. We eat breakfast together (each person brings something to contribute: bread, eggs, avocado, or juice). We sing and share communion. We share Bible stories with the kids and sing songs that they enjoy. The adults have a time of study and reflection while the kids are dismissed to another room (my girls’ bedroom). The kids continue to play while the adults talk (in our playroom or out on the patio). Like I said, I just wanted to capture a few of those moments this morning…

Sarah reading the Bible story to the kids while we are still with the adults.

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listening intently

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Sandra’s little munchkin, Harold

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coloring in the girls’ room

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We keep them quiet and busy for as long as we can so the adults can have a time of quiet and study, but then they are released to the playroom… 🙂

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or the front patio.

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A house church morning

Queso Helado–starring Paticita y Lola

SDC19842We had a lovely afternoon with Paty’s familia. I had asked her a while back to teach me her ways in the queso helado world. She kindly obliged, and went all the way by inviting the McKinzie fam over for lunch and dessert. So delicious. I could have taken lessons on preparing her “Soltero de Queso,” another dish that I need to learn, but we enjoyed the time of visiting and eating delicious food. Afterward, Greg returned to our home with the the two littles, and Ana and I stayed for our ice cream lesson.

Queso Helado is a famous homemade ice cream served all over the city on a hot day. The women will wear the traditional Arequipa outfit and scoop the portions from large wooden vats of the ice cream. We love queso helado. It literally means “cheese ice cream,” but there is no cheese to be found in the ingredient list. The ice cream usually comes out with a yellowish tint that is similar to the color of cheese. Coconut is a main ingredient in the icy treat, and the portion is always sprinkled with ground cinnamon. My family’s Christmas tradition is to serve boiled custard over a piece of coconut cake. I think that is why I like this ice cream so much. Minus the cinnamon, the flavor could be titled, “Boiled Custard over Coconut Cake.”

a while back. Hanging out in the Plaza de Yanahuara where they always serve Queso Helado.
a while back. Hanging out in the Plaza de Yanahuara where they always serve Queso Helado.

Queso Helado

Ingredients:

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  • 1 liter of whole milk
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • 8 eggs
  • 100 g of shredded coconut
  • 1.5 c of sugar
  • 1 can or small bag of evaporated milk
  • ground cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Echar un litro de leche, 100 g coco rallado, una rama de canela, 1.5 T azucar en una olla (medio fuego). Combine the milk, coconut, cinnamon stick, sugar in a small pot on medium heat.DSC_0266DSC_0267DSC_0269DSC_0272
  2. Separar 8 huevos clara de yema. Separate the eggs, yolk from whites.DSC_0274
  3. Mezclar yemas. Mix the yolks.DSC_0275
  4. Cuando liquido hierva, apagar el fuego. Colar la mezcla para eliminar el coco del liquido. When the mixture begins to boil, turn down the flame. Strain the liquid in order to remove the coconut pieces from the liquid.DSC_0273DSC_0276DSC_0278DSC_0280
  5. Agregar leche evaporada a liquido. Add the evaporated milk to the liquid.DSC_0282
  6. Enfriar el liquido (10-15 minutos). Allow the mixture to cool.
  7. Agregar las yemas. Add the yolks, but temp the yolks with a little bit of the hot mixture first.DSC_0283
  8. Echar en un fuente. Cubrir con plastico. Pour into a 9×13 pan and cover with plastic or a top.DSC_0284DSC_0285
  9. Congelar de una noche. Freeze over night.DSC_0286
  10. Servir con canela molida. Serve sprinkled with ground cinnamon.SDC19842

    Ana and Lola
    Ana and Lola
Queso Helado–starring Paticita y Lola

Back to school for Meg

August 18 is tomorrow. It is around the time that lots of universities are starting back. Besides all the prep work for here in Peru that we need to do for our reentry, we also have to think about what happens after reentry. Greg published not too long ago that he is submitting applications to doctoral programs. The plan is for him to study full-time. Get ‘er done. You know what that means? “Bread winner Meg” is back in the picture. 🙂

I posted not too long ago about the blessing of the library work here. It is something for me to put on my resume. It will also help me in renewing my teaching license. I have to show proof of 60 hours of professional development (along with some other things) in order to renew my teaching license for the US. Many of those hours will come from the professional development that I teach through Living Libraries.

Some of my mentors in this field told me about a new law that passed in AR (where I earned my teaching license). Someone with a middle level title can take 2 reading courses, a 45 hour on-line literacy course, and pass the Praxis in order to add elementary to their teaching title. I said, “Sign me up!” Coming back to the states, I want to be as marketable as possible. Learning Spanish while here in Peru will serve to my advantage, but it won’t hurt to be marketable for grades 1-8 either.

So… I am taking an independent study in “Teaching Reading” with one of those mentors I mentioned, Dr. Clara Carroll. I am pumped. I have already been reading ahead from my two main textbooks:

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You know you are in the right profession when you enjoy the work you are given in a masters level course. I am excited to dive in, learn things for Living Libraries currently, and add to my schema for teaching in the future.

Also on my requirement list: joining the National Reading Association (which I joined almost a year ago), writing reading reflections, formulating lesson plans using the Common Core, and writing an article to be published for CUDA’s Living Libraries project.

You wouldn’t have heard me say this back in grade school, but, “I am pumped to go back to school!”

Here’s to a semester of craziness with a little bit of professional development sprinkled in. 🙂 And here’s to hoping this helps me land a job come this time next year…

Back to school for Meg

Papa a la Huancaína–starring Etelvina

On my reentry bucket list in these last months is to learn some recipes that my family loves. I have learned many recipes in my time here, mostly from Manuela. But today, Etelvina made a special trip to our home to show me her ways in Ocopa (a creamy spicy, yellow sauce). Ocopa is used in a dish called “Papa a la Huancaína.” You can read the origin of the plate at this link. Arequipa has its own twist on the dish. It is typically served as a starter, but when using big potatoes (which is what I used today), it is very filling. When I say that my family loves this dish, ALL of us ask for more sauce. At the end of the meal, the kids are always drinking up their extra ocopa like they would the milk from a bowl of cereal.

Etelvina brought all the ingredients for the ocopa (the sauce), and I had to provide the rest. The rest includes boiled potatoes, boiled eggs, lettuce leaves, sliced tomatoes, and purple olives. I bought all of my ingredients in the bodega one block from my home for under 2 dollars. Man, I love Peruvian bodegas. 🙂

So… I give you the step by step directions for making Ocopa and then how to assemble a plate of Papa a la Huancaína.

Ocopa

Ingredients

  • 5 ají verde (and yes, I know they aren’t green)
  • 2 dientes (teeth) of ajo (garlic)
  • salt
  • oil
  • saltine crackers and animal crackers
  • 1 large onion
  • Huacatay
  • peanuts
  • water

(This recipe is enough for 10 large potatoes)

ingredients
ingredients
ingredients
ingredients

1. Lavar aji verde. Clean the peppers very well.

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2. Sacar semilla de aji. Remove all the seeds and “guts” from the peppers. This removes the spicy.

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3. If cooking for people that like spicy food, leave the peppers alone. If cooking for children, rub the halves together very well under water to remove the spicy. Cut away any excess “guts.” Frotándole.

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4. Freírlos. Cut the ajís and place them into a hot skillet coated with oil. Add the garlic and huatacay. Fry them until their are golden. Freír hasta se doren (doraditos).

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5. While frying, remove shells from peanuts. You only need a half-handful of peanuts.

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6. Remove Aji mixture into a bowl. Add peanuts (maní) and crackers (saltine and animal).

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7. Cortar cebolla. Cut up the onion and fry in the same pan as the peppers. Allow to get black specks and soften.

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8. Poner todo en la liquadora. Put everything in a blender.

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9. Add water until all the ingredients are covered. Also add about 1 tsp of salt.

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Blend away! The color will go from this…

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to this…

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Somebody is hungry and happy about Vina’s cookin’…

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10. Taste test. If you want it thicker, add more crackers. Add more salt or garlic based on your taste preference.

 

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And now, prepare the Papa a la Huancaína: place a large lettuce leave to the side of a plate. Put the potato down. Pour the ocopa over the potato. Lay the egg halves and olives in front of the potato, and lay a tomato slice on top of potato. Wah-lah!

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Finally, enjoy with some Peruvians that you have come to LOVE. We love you so much, Etelvina and Arelí!!!!!!!! We will cherish afternoons like this!

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Papa a la Huancaína–starring Etelvina

The Blessedness of Possessing Nothing

“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”–Matthew 5:3

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I got into one of those ruts just recently where I found myself running around constantly “doing good things” for God and wondering why I was always so tired. You know? Doing things for him, but forgetting who he is. God is very clear that we must constantly seek him, pursue him. He clearly says to be still and know that he is God. I have a hard time with being still sometimes because there is so much for me to do. Hear that word? Me. He is our strength, and boy do I know that I need that strength in this world. So I am back on track with trying to refuel in the mornings. I had always heard the book pictured above as a recommendation, and about a year ago, it was a freebie offered on Kindle Amazon books. I was looking through my Kindle library for a book to help guide me in my meditations, and I decided to go with this one. The title couldn’t have been more perfect.

Tozer ends each chapter with a prayer, and his first prayer absolutely resonated with my heart:

O God, I have tasted Thy goodness, and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more. I am painfully conscious of my need of further grace. I am ashamed of my lack of desire. O God, the Triune God, I want to want Thee; I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be made more thirsty still. Show me Thy glory, I pray Thee, that so I may know Thee indeed. Begin in mercy a new work of love within me. Say to my soul, “Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.” Then give me grace to rise and follow Thee up from this misty lowland where I have wandered so long. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Isn’t that absolutely beautiful?

This morning was no different. The title of Chapter 2 is “The Blessedness of Possessing Nothing.” You remember that part where Jesus talks about giving up everything for him, taking up your cross? That has got to be one of the hardest parts of following Jesus. When presenting the story to someone new, I always spend quite a bit of time making sure the student is aware of this teaching and how hard it is. Following Christ is not a walk in the park. He says to give up all of ourselves. Man alive that is hard!

Tozer writes a beautiful piece on understanding the beatitude written to the poor in spirit. I think that most of us hear the word “poor” and automatically associate it with not having material things. Materials are part of it, but Tozer takes Abraham as an example. Abraham was very wealthy because the Lord had blessed him. And Abraham honored God with those things. But apparently, as Tozer points out, Isaac became the idol and delight of his heart. Isaac was the representation of all things good for the future of Abraham’s people. He was the promise. And what does God end up doing with Abraham? He sends him away to sacrifice Isaac. He wants to purify Abraham from “an uncleansed love.” We know the story. Abraham is obedient to God. And he thinks in his heart that if he slays the son, God has the power to resurrect him. He trusts God. He is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice in his life.

Abraham had everything materially, but “he possessed nothing.” This is giving it all up. We have to take “my,” “mine,” “me” out of the equation, and know that it is all God’s. And he promises to take care of us. Tozer presents this idea so well in his book. I will quote a bit from this chapter:

Things had been cast out forever. They had now become external to the man. His inner heart was free from them. The world said, “Abraham is rich,” but the aged patriarch only smiled. He could not explain it to them, but he knew that he owned nothing, that his real treasures were inward and eternal. There can be no doubt that this possessive clinging to things is one of the most harmful habits in the life. Because it is so natural it is rarely recognized for the evil that it is; but its outworkings are tragic. We are often hindered from giving up our treasures to the Lord out of fear for their safety; this is especially true when those treasures are loved relatives and friends. But we need have no such fears. Our Lord came not to destroy but to save. Everything is safe which we commit to Him, and nothing is really safe which is not so committed.

Tozer, A. W. (Aiden Wilson) (2011-03-24). The Pursuit of God (pp. 26-27). . Kindle Edition.

 

I will be thinking much more about this chapter. Even as a Christian, I struggle with the “mine” mentality. Now that we have children, I understand even more how hard it is to not turn my family into an idol.

I was cleaning out some things this morning (you know, we are moving in 5 months!!!). I am very sentimental when it comes to letters or notes written by loved ones. I came across the letter that my mom sent with us 6 years ago. Oh how the tears flowed when reading it. Our parents certainly are not perfect, but Greg and I are beyond blessed to have parents that “gave us up.” I hear of missionaries who do not receive their parents blessing to go and serve. What a sacrifice for the missionary to give up that relationship to family when called to the field. But today, I want to thank God for our parents. They were so sad to see us go, but they raised us to do so. They taught us to follow after God. It is really easy to say that to your little children, but when God asks you to sacrifice their lives later in life, for me that is a test of if you have truly given it all to him. Will we trust his promise that all will be taken care of? Do we see our children as ours, mine? Or are they His?

Thank you, Mom, Dad, Vicki, for being willing to give up several of your most precious treasures: your children, time with your children, your grandchildren. But I can promise you, that God has blessed your sacrifice.

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DSC_0259It is ironic that she says she is excited to see us in January. Because that is when I will see her in 2015. We lived with them 6 months before going to Peru, and we will live with them 6 months after living in Peru. What beautiful bookends in this journey of faith!

 

 

The Blessedness of Possessing Nothing