Saturday, May 31, 2008


well...because of oil going up...gas has gone up...and everything is going up, up, that means our electricity has gone up because all electricity in Indonesia is run on Diesel wednesday...friday and saturday (and periodically at times before that) we had no electricity for about 5-6 hours at a time...with no warnings...and for us, it is only 'inconvienent' ...but for many it causes big headaches cuz their businesses can't run. and "they" say that the electric company is only doing this so that people will appreciate their electricity more...cuz our bills are going to go up. could be that now we will just have blackouts periodically every day to conserve. who knows what this means for the future of indonesia? it's just so hard for the people already...maybe solar energy will get a boost and they will learn new ways of doing things??? but in the meantime...we are thankful for the times we do have electricity...and then today i am thankful because we were in town shopping and i found Q-tips!!!!!!!!!!!!!! real ones! so all the ex-pats are going to be so excited for this! and we are also very very thankful that we have a car to drive! we were getting down the "two bike/5 persons" deal pretty good but we are realizing after just 24 hours of having a car...that life just got 100% easier! it's so great to be able to go when you want to go and come back when you want to come back and not be relying on others so it public transportation, hired drivers, bikes, stroller, our own two feet, or friends cars...we have loved that time without the car cuz it made us appreciate "this life" here but i have to say "we are all (especially gavin) so glad to come back to the life of having a car!!!!!!!!!!"

Friday, May 30, 2008

Kitty cats

i think maybe she will work in a zoo? or maybe be like that Australian Crocodile man? or just have 10 different pets of her own?? who knows... but the girl loves animals and animals love her.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

meet our next door neighbors

this is a great family. always happy and ready to help out. and you will hear this story in our next prayer letter...but for those of you who don't get can read on...
they collect trash for a living and sell it
they live in a 12x9 room...that completes their house
when it rains...they get wet...along with everything else
they can't afford to send their daughter to school (nor can most indonesians as the price of gas just went up 20%'s a stiff price to pay when you can't even give the necessities in food and clean water)
they bath in the open air behind some trees and a free standing wall
they treasure everything we throw's weird to throw things away now cuz i know it's like "giving" it to her. she collects our trash for the little fee of putting her daughter through kindergarten. but now that she is entering grade's a little more. of course we help and of course we want to solve all their problems but this culture prohibits us from doing too much. we have already done too much in the communities eyes around us. there is jealously going on. we must be fair to all...but it's hard when they are the most in need. if we don' will be dangerous for them and for us.
and its so completely hard to have this kind of life around us when we are trying to make our home "a home"...and even though we live minimally...we still have way more than they will ever dream to have...and we live next door! they come visit every day and watch sponge bob, tomand jerry (the universal cartoon cuz it has no words!) or veggie tales with the kids...they play outside all day with ours as well...i really like her. she really tries to help me out with cultural yesterday a kid fell out of a 3 story coconut tree and i asked her what we need to do. usually all the women go and visit all at once when someone is sick (or in his case...a broken leg) and the men all go and visit another time. and you bring money with you. anywhere from $1-5 to help with costs of not working and medical care. she is quick to help me cuz she knows we don't have a clue!
in the picture above of their family...this is the first time they have had their family photo. had i known...we would have done things differently but she was so cute...this is how she wanted it. so maybe this is best :D. i had asked her earlier in the day to get their family photo sometime...well she came over THAT same night with everyone bathed and in nice clothes for this special occasion. i can't wait to get it framed for their house! so...this is just one story...there are so many more...please pray for them...we love them so...


one of paul's favorite past times is playing computer games. we try to go to the educational sites cuz they have some great's so great! pbs kids has some good ones too...and then of course there is fancy pants...a modern version of what we used to play as kids...mario brothers? it's fast and fun and has great music...and yeah...but i am amazed at how kids are born with computer chips in them these days...he can get around and do whatever he needs to...he only needs help reading...and even then he is figuring out what some words "look like" because he knows he needs to "exit" or "enter" or type's amazing and fun to watch!


i finally figured out...or the doctor i finally saw...figured out that i must have had mono or Hep A this past year. i am hoping that it's all coming down to the end but i have had some weird sickness stuff going on for quite a long time now and he says it looks like the classic "coming off of" Hep A or Mono...

so i just ask for prayers for more health and strength to finish out lang. school this next month. i feel myself coming back a little bit but i can't do too much yet or else i get depleted right away. my hands have this tingling, burning, itchy feeling and they say that is another way for a virus to leave your body??? still fighting off a cold that has different symptoms every other day for a month now...i'm really sick of being sick and more sick of trying to figure out what it is... so i am glad to "kind of know" and just rest in that it's slowly coming out of my system.

Pesta Ulang Tahun #2

here is greg enjoying the first moments of his surprise! ( just after his hour long massage too!) he was really surprised so i was happy about that! he knew something was up but wanted the anticipation of "not knowing"...what a good sport!
and here are the kiddos of some of our close friends here...eating away...they were playing so hard that i think they ALL ate very well. our yard becomes VERY busy when they are all over and the noise level rises almost to a 10! it's amazing! but they all get along great (for the most part) we only had 2 ice packs out the whole night!
here is the new tent/shade cover (all the little roadside businesses are getting i am just trying to 'fit it')...and our friends enjoying the night of was humorous talk around the table with a lot of kind of party :D it feels good to be laughing more and more!
and here are our good friends and teammates...lisa and jeff. we just said goodbye to them today. they went back to the states for a time of renewal after being here 6 years. we are borrowing their car, microwave, TV, spices, baskets, and's great! but we would much rather have them around than have their "things" :( we will miss them a whole lot and hope they return in January!

30 Years of Bliss!

yes! greg turned old on wed! we planned out a whole day of surprises for him as he enjoyed entering into this new decade. what a guy! we love our greg! and we are grateful he remains faithful to God to take him to the next stages of life. he is almost done with language school and he can pretty much carry on any conversation he needs to! he is great at learning languages...and he is so good in this culture too...i'm so glad for him that he is here to teach art and be used with all his gifts just spurting out of him!
He relaxed around the house reading a new magazine we just got in the mail from our good friends in was fun to sit and look at "North America"...THANK YOU PATTI!! (the kids also say thanks!) we also just had this bench made by our good friend Pak Wijaya. so it was fun to sit on it for the first time on his birthday.
then when he went to class, the kids and i and our helpers got ready for his surprise birthday party #1. and we got a little picnic for the backyard ready so that after his class he came home to a picnic on the bamboo extravaganza. it was good times. we gave him a charcoal grill and a patio cover (shade thingy) for his birthday. little did he know, we were going to use it all that night for a fun party #2! after his lunch he laid down for a nap with hazel and then he woke up to go "out for coffee" with Jan. but when they got to the resturant/resort...they really had a massage planned for him. He, Jan, and Paul Noble, another friend of ours, pampered themselves with an hour massage. Greg was in heaven!
Meanwhile, back home, we were scrambling to change the backyard into a resturant and fixing up the food. we laughed cuz here were the women trying to learn how to grill on a charcoal grill while the men were getting massages! our helpers made great food and this is what every Indonesian has at his birthday. A volcano of rice! Pretty good stuff and i hope you can see all the detail of "happy birthday" and the vegetables made to look like flowers. this culture is so artistic. it was fun to get ready and keep everything a surprise. but paul did say at the picnic, "this is party #1 and we are waiting for party #2 tonight! but i'm not telling you about it!"

Thursday, May 22, 2008

not yet the last...but more pictures of mural

here are some more shots of the ongoing project in the boys room.
gavin and paul sleep in bunk beds so we labeled the walls in the right places for them to see as they go to sleep...

then we have a zebra's bum-bum with a bird on it...seems to be most favorite part of the room from short people's standards. and i don't know if you can see it but there is a jungle sized ant on a vine as well here...

more jungle

a lizard trying to escape a snake with no head cuz martha thought that was "less scary"
in the room there are 4 trees in the 4 corners...this being one of them...and there is ocean behind all the jungle because this is paul and gavin's own little island :D

here is the cougar (leapord?) that you have already seen, a bird perched on a vine, an elephant bathing in the water below and monkey's far out on the branch...another corner of the room...

room makeover

this is our garage BEFORE

and this is the same spot's our garage that we made into an enclosed storage/wash machine area to hold bikes and good things like that. putting bamboo on the walls made such a difference and we like this look. our house is pretty 'open aired' so one can get away with this kind of thing here. in the picture is our 'tukan', Pak Wijaya. He has been making a lot of the things in our house and we are grateful for his handy work!

our kitchen

very modern for indonesian standards...and most foreigners have a very little fridge but we came to the school when there were none left so they had to buy a new one! it's so nice and we also have a new stove for the same reason...none left at the school.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Lurking on us as we play...
Same spider...just out of the tree on a bamboo branch

Monday, May 19, 2008

Kindergarten fun

twister...these three could look like brothers :D
Gavin posing as uncle "Ehwic"

this past week Gavin stayed ALL day at get in some extra learning and understand what going to 1st grade means, the class went swimming, made kites, picked up trash around the neighborhood, played kickball against the older kids (and gavin got a home run!) and they even had ice cream! the last week of school is truly for learning what life is all about! meanwhile paul is home wondering, "When is Gavin going to be home?" Paul found himself busy with more neighborhood kids, picking on his sister, bike riding with dad, playing cards with mom, swimming in his own little pool (with goggles) and of course watching movies on our "newly borrowed" TV from friends who are going to America! Life is great with little kids!

What a year will do!!!

it's been a year since we took this picture and left our friends there in bellflower. and we miss them all so! it's a great thing to miss people we love...i would much rather have it that way than not miss anyone at all. we have traveled a lot of miles, in cars and in planes, seen a lot of and old, and in my opinion...experienced too many "new" things for one year! i think we are all a little exhausted as we look back on what we have come through but i am writing to cheer ourselves on! tomorrow greg and i have an 8th anniversary! we made it! tomorrow gavin graduates from kindergarten! he and we made it! tomorrow signifies the beginning to summer and one more unit left in language! we are making it! this year has been so hard but i am rejoicing today that we have not been left to do it on our own...we would not be rejoicing if that had been the case!! God has stepped in and held us the whole way...we have a huge support system of friends and family who care enough to stand with us as is such an important factor in our lives and we want you all to rejoice with us as we celebrate tomorrow!

pak greg...seniman bagus

aka...Gavin and Paul's room :D
i had a bit of time to put something on the blog and so i am going back in time to find old pictures and here were a few of the mural Greg has done in the boy's room. we have more to add but will soon...after we get a camera...most likely tomorrow! we have been waiting to get the "final" touches done on the walls before posting...but seeing as how we did this back in march and haven't had time to finish...i am thinking it might just "be done" :D the boys love it and that is what matters, yeah?

Friday, May 16, 2008

Mom and Hazel

we are continually being challenged by our two year old. Hazel Basil. she loves life so much! and she expects a lot out of it. her passions run deep and she is on a mission most days. she insists that our number system goes 1,2,3,6,8,9,10...there is no room for 4,5 or 7 and she really believes this! how her little brain works in both indonesian and english is quite amazing...i can see she understands so much indonesian. i think she believes she is actually Paul or Gavin's age and this is what gets her into so much frustration. she really WANTS to be able to do and think like they do...writing, drawing, communicating, running, swimming, going...but some things just can't be done at their level yet! because of her strong will, she spends a part of every day crying/yelling about not getting her way...and she doesn't give up easily! with her smile and quick wit, she wins people over in an instant here and all the neighbors and friends love her. they don't understand this "other side" and they can't stand to hear her cry. i say all this because we are having "a time" trying to be consistant with her. when we are here alone, she knows our rules. (and doesn't always like them) when we are with her and there are Indonesians around, she knows there is a different standard and she will get her way with them. when we aren't with her and she is with our Indonesian helpers only...i can only imagine her world is perfect! this culture doesn't want to hear children cry so they tend to get whatever they want to keep them from crying. most kids i see though, don't show that much emotion or strong i just wonder what they do here with "hazel's" born into the culture? i wonder what that looks like? we are trying to figure it out for ourselves and right now we feel a little bit like our hands are tied to how we truly want to parent her because raising her is a community effort here. we have had to hand over the right to single handedly raise her because we are in language school. they know we are weird and have foreign ideas but i think hazel is beginning to think we are weird and have foreign ideas as well! so i write all this to ask you to pray for wisdom in raising our kids. i know a lot of you read this cuz you care about them...and i know you pray already...just giving a little more specific ways to do so! God has made her with a special purpose and he has made us to be her this all fits but we still need good wisdom and humor and flexibility and stability and love...about all...we need love!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Kids are just too sweet

Daily faces in the neighborhood

kreta api dengan Skitters

good times with this new invention. we installed a driveway so now it's easier for the skitters to play in our yard as well. everyone is enjoying it! the kids have a made a train out of skitters

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


today we were outside hanging with the neighbors. after giving instructions to the neighbors to watch the kids...and no motorcyles...greg went inside to get some money. i was not in the area of the kids at the time. when greg came out, paul and hazel had been escorted around the neighborhood on a motorcycle. they were gone. this is something we frown on by the neighbors. there are times we put the kids on motorcycles for transportation sake cuz we HAVE to but not just for the fun of it. then they wear helmets. and they were gone for quite awhile. greg was getting more upset with each minute. as we were "m" came rushing around the corner on his motorcycle and asked "are your kids ok?" and we said "we don't know where they are?" and he had heard that a child around the age of 5 (a foreigner) had fell into a river from a bike accident. my heart instantly choked up to my throat and i couldn't imagine. i grabbed my stomach and prayed to God to keep my babies safe! we continued questioning this man as to what other info he knew...not much...but i was rationalizing that it couldn't be our kids. not enough time had past. and 2-3 very long minutes later they came smiling around the corner. hazel standing on the back of the bike. i was thrilled to see them! but frustrated with the driver! my heart and stomach still uneasy for the "one" who was hurt. tonight we found out that Anna, a 3rd grader, died. her and her mom were riding bikes. her mom was in front of her and they turned a corner but anna didn't follow. when her mom realized she wasn't behind her, she began, what was an hour long search for her daughter...only to find her at the bottom of a hill face down in the river. they don't know what happened? i can't imagine. i only know the instant feelings that rose in me when i "thought" it could of been mine. but that only lasted a few moments. this family will deal with that feeling now for REAL. this family also has an older boy and they have been serving here in indonesia for 5 years. please pray for them as they begin this grieving process.

Monday, May 5, 2008

monday mornings

Paul and hazel have some little chicks here today from the neighbors yard…and they are in a cage…but Paul opened the door…and one got out and I had to chase it around the yard to put it back in the cage.

He said “mom, the chick was just trying to be a “nickpacker” cuz it wanted to nick on this wood and pack it down.” So needless to say, he took the wood out of the cage to prevent such things from happening again. i guess chicks don't want to be "nickpackers" and that is why he HAD to escape from his cage.

and big news! our caterpillar is now a beautiful butterfly! Saturday morning it came out of it's cocoon and we let it fly free. we would have pictures for you but Hazel broke our camera. she is such the photographer. i did get video of it but i do not yet have it figured out how to put YOU-TUBE on our blog :D sometime i will learn... when things slow down :D or...stina...could you just come over and help me??? again???

we were back on the sick wagon for only a we are all better today! head colds, the big D, and fevers...sickness never makes sense here in our family. but we are getting longer spurts of time between sicknesses...which means we are getting adjusted...right?

today, like every monday, we have a test in lang. so i better keep studying. it's not i used to's actually remembering what i have already studied. have a great monday wherever you are in the world! i say that cuz i have recently met old friends on facebook from different being our foreign exchange student in 1990, Defne, from Turkey! i love facebook!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

this is Greg talking

Last night, from 7:30 to 10:30 pm, I went to my first Javanese wedding. It was an experience I will never forget. Most ceremonies are set up outdoors, in front of the host's house, taking up a large section of the street on that block. This wedding was held on the street next to ours, I didn't know who was getting married- but it was important to attend because it is our community. So I get waved over to sit down in the middle of a group of guys who offer me a smoke, but I decline. They light up, as do all Muslim men smoke, and continue to light up one after other for the whole wedding. It actually smelled ok, but gave me a nasty headache. Was I noticed right away was that this was a very relaxed atmosphere for the crowd- they chat and snack on a box meal that everyone gets, along with a bottle of cold tea. I taste the gummy rice bar and it's not bad-lucky for me because they were all motioning for me to eat it. Unlike the crowd, the wedding party was really serious and formal. The bride walked in behind her parents, with a lady that seemed to be the wedding organizer following closely. The bride reminded me of the Japanese women, (I think called Kimono?), where they paint their faces white and their clothes are really intricate and wrapped extremely tight. Only this bride had a fancy hairline painted black. She had to shuffle her feet and sit very prim and proper while some songs were sung and some Javanese words were spoken. By the way, I was humbled because I have been studying the language for 5 months and I understood NOTHING of what was being said in Javanese or Bahasa (which is what I study). Then the groom walks in, with his parents a whole train of what must be extended family, as the bride and family rise and slowly walk towards each other to meet in the middle of the aisle. He tosses something at her, and she bows for a minute at his feet. Then, interestingly, the father of the bride wraps a red cloth around the couple and himself, and they walk back up to the stage in a tight pack, the wedding planner following behind holding and pushing them up the stage.
Blinker. Amidst the smoke there's a blinding light shining on us from the roaming camera crew, and a speaker system so loud and distorted I winced every time someone spoke loudly. I happened to be 15 feet directly in front of a speaker.
Behind the wedding party, there's a huge display of flowers, draped over really ornate wooden dividers. The men are all wearing black and gold sarongs (like an Irish kilt) with a tux-like suit coat, a wrapped hat, and a sword tucked behind their back and into a cloth waist belt. There are two little girls with fans, like our little flower girls, who flank the wedding couple and fan them off and on. They couple feeds each other some wedding cake, like we do, and some tea. I was looking for one of them to smash the cake into their spouse's face, but it didn't happen. Then there are some more songs, one by a guy who paused for 10 seconds at a time, singing mostly through his nose. All of this so different, so fascinating.
Then the whole wedding party leaves, and another box meal is served. At this point I am thinking it is over, because usually when you serve food that is the signal that you can eat and then leave. But 15 minutes later the wedding party returns, having changed clothes. They bride and groom are now both wearing solid bright yellow outfits from head to toe. I'm watching them slowly proceed to the front when I get hit in the chest by something. It startled me and when I touch my chest I feel this small round object in my shirt pocket! I quietly fished it out and saw that it was an olive-shaped nut that had fallen from the tree above me. How goofy.
So once they all were seated again, a man gets up and begins to talk really slow and serious. He then begins to pick speed, cracking jokes one after the other. At first, the wedding party was to uptight to laugh, but pretty soon they couldn't help it and would occasionally break into laughter for a few brief seconds. I was really wishing I could understand him, I was the only foreigner at the wedding, and the only one not knowing what's so funny. At one point, he turns to me and says, in decent English, "I am sorry, I do speak English very well" and then he went back to his stand-up act. I was surprised he even saw me amidst the crowed of 200+ people. He must have went on for a solid hour, cracking jokes one after the other. He reminded me a lot of Chris Rock. Fast talker, lots of different voices and facial expressions. He was so different from the formal, slow rhythm of the whole ceremony, it just made it all the more interesting. As soon as he finished, it was all done and I went home with a huge headache but a great memories.