Sunday, February 26, 2012

Off to Chad, Africa!

N'Djamena is the capital city where we will be living.
So, we are off to Chad after 7 years of waiting and wondering and imagining.....we are still processing it all with excitement, nervousness, anticipation and wonder about what our lives will look like over in Chad. As a mom and wife, thoughts swirl in my head: doubts mixed with courage, happiness and sadness, confidence mixed with a fear of failure.....all these emotions will be worked out in time I'm sure but for now.....slightly overwhelming. Chatting with Phil, (someone who is walking this crazy road with me) has been comforting; asking our friends to pray for us and most importantly, giving this overwhelming situation to my Father in prayer has helped me in the processing stage of our journey to Chad.

One thing we know for sure and that we are most definitely confident about is the fact that this is God's plan for our lives, He chose this place for us and will carry us through, whatever trials should come our way....He always has and we know He always will.
It has been a 7 year journey......from the time we quit our jobs in London, ON and drove across Canada in our 1987 brown Toyota Corolla ("the pooper") and headed for Prairie's Mission Aviation Program........2 kids, a lot of friends, ups and downs in our marriage, a commercial, IFR and Instructor rating under our belts, no debt (PRAISE was a $60,000 program.....obviously God got us though that one) and now here we sit.......82% of the way through raising our monthly support needed to go to Chad, about to leave in June to Quebec City for 6 months to learn francais, and preparing our hearts to serve the people of Chad.
Typical road condition during rainy season....impassable.
But you know what? Despite some unsettling aspects about this country, Chad is actually a great place for us in so many has a Christian elementary school right in the city run by Africa Inland Mission (AIM) should we choose not to homeschool. The other pilot family that we will be living/working with has 6 kids (lots of girls), the youngest being Kaitlyn's age. The flight program is small, only 2 planes which is super attractive to Phil who didn't want to be part of a large flight program and wanted to continue flying small planes and be 'down in the dirt' with people.

After doing some research on our own, we have discovered that Chad has some huge needs. There are only 600km of paved roads in the entire country! So when rainy season hits 4 months out of the year.....the roads outside of the capital city are impassible, making aviation vital to the continuation of the many ministries working in Chad. It has the largest number of unreached people groups in Africa, and the literacy rate is a mere 25%. Poverty, a history of political instability, unrest between the Muslim north and the Christian animistic south and corruption have plagued this country for years......there is much work to be done.
So, Phil and I move forward, trusting that God has all the details worked out, and as long as we continue to move ahead, He will direct our steps. Not gonna lie.....sometimes I feel very freaked out......just so you know I am super Christian here....just a mother and wife trying her best, failing often but relying more on the One who set out this path for her. Details to's gonna be a crazy ride.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Adventures in the Kitchen Week 2

Alright....this time I am venturing into the world of Quinoa (Keen-wa) for a "warm up your insides" kind of stew for a cold winter day. We ate this for lunch with some cut up veggies on the side.

Adventures in the Kitchen Recipe # 2

Quinoa, Carrot and Lentil Stew
Prep time: 10 min  Serves: 4

Not my picture but is the same yumminess as mine.
1/2 Cup Quinoa
1/2 Cup Red Lentils
4 Cups Vegetable or Chicken Stock
1 Cup Water
1 1/2 Cups Sliced Carrots
1 Cup Diced Red Onion (I used yellow onion)
2 Teaspoons Minced Fresh Garlic
1 Teaspoon Cumin
1 Teaspoon Coriander
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1 Cup Diced Red Bell Pepper
2 Tablespoons Fresh Cilantro (*I didn't include this)

Combine the quinoa, lentils, stock and water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil.
Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 10 minutes.
Add the carrots, onion, garlic, cumin, coriander, and salt and cook for 5 minutes.
Add the red pepper and cook 5 more minutes.
*Add the cilantro. Serve immediately.

Taken from Quinoa, the Everyday Superfood 365.

This is a recipe I have made twice now....and it was so good both times! The adults in my life loved it (hubs and mom-in-law and me!). As for the kids....Kaitlyn ate a kid sized bowl and seemed to like it enough to finish and after adding raisins Lily ate it til the raisins were all gone. You know what they say....keep trying and they may just end up liking it! No heat from spices, hearty and packed with 2 of nature's protein sources makes this stew a cheap, easy, healthy and yummy lunch.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Why a "wonderful life"?

Won-der-ful - [wuhn-der-fuhl]

1. excellant, great, marvellous
Waiting on God to direct our steps....sometimes ya need
to step into the rushing water first.....
2. of a sort that causes or arouses wonder; amazing; astonishing

Synonyms: awesome, wondrous, miraculous, astonishing, amazing, astounding, phenomenal, unique, curious, strange.

As I was thinking about what title to give my blog, the word wonderful popped into my head. I had to look it up and to my surprise it was fitting to describe what life is. Life is full of wonder and is miraculous. Each of us have unique lives, all of us not knowing just what is around the corner but trusting in God's ultimate plan for each of us. Easy? Nope. Curious, strange, amazing and wondrous? Yup. How fitting for this blog to be named the very word that describes what God has given to all of us......a Wonderful Life.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Adventures in the Kitchen: Week 1

Meal Variety has always been a struggle for me. I have a fairly decent repertoire of meals that we circulate through but I am a bit bored with them. I've been making them now for almost 8 years.  So, I've decided to embark on a recipe finding goal is to try (and post) at least one new recipe a week.....goals being healthy, fairly easy (using ingredients commonly found in any kitchen), and enjoyed by my food critics (my family!). I'll make sure to include honest and helpful reviews. Hope this helps you moms out there who are just as tired as me with Meatloaf Monday, Taco Tuesday.... :) 

Adventures in the Kitchen Recipe # 1

No-Fuss Moroccan Chicken

Prep Time: 15 min    Serves: 4    

1.5 lbs. of chicken halves (I used chic. breasts...I am a wimp when it comes to bones!)
2 T of oil (I used coconut oil)
1/2 Cup chopped onion
1 Garlic clove (I am a garlic junkie so I used 4 cloves, freshly pressed)
2 Cups Salsa (using mild, medium or hot salsa will determine how hot this dish will be)
1/2 Cup Water
Silly me, forgot to take a this one will have to do!
 Similar image minus the slivered almonds.
1/4 Currants (I substituted raisins...tasted great)
2 Tablespoons honey
1 1/2 Teaspoons Cumin
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon

Preheat oven to 325 F. Brown chicken in oil and place in baking dish.

Lightly saute onions and garlic. Spoon over chicken.

Combine salsa, water, currants, honey, cumin and cinnamon in a bowl.
Pour over chicken. 

Cover and bake for 1 hour or until chicken is cooked through.

Serve with Rice or Couscous.

Rice is always a hit with my family, as is chicken. The girls ate a small helping as I unwisely used a medium heat salsa...a little too hot for tiny tongues. As for the adults, we agreed it was spicy but enjoyed the sweet surprise of the raisins and the flavor of this dish. I would make this dish again, but use mild salsa instead.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Snowbirds & Lovebirds

2 bits of exciting news in my family.....thought I would share it with no particular order.....

My brother in law Craig is now officially a pilot for the Snowbirds. This has been his dream for a long time and he is finally living it! We are so proud of him! Can't wait to see him in action.....
The highlight of every air show

The best pilots in Canada
My little sister Rachel is getting hitched to a great guy (date TBD)....Derek is his name.....they make a great couple. It feels like yesterday that Phil and I were calling around to tell our close friends and family about our exciting news!! We are so happy for them and can't wait to see what God has in store for them as a couple....We love you two! Engagement pictures to come....

I  bet you they'll be sporting some funky shoes....

Riding in style....

Friday, February 3, 2012

Winter Blues?? Winterlude!!

Skating on the Ottawa Canal

I cannot believe it is February already!!! The only thought I have is.....SPRING is only 3 months away!!! YAY! Not that I don't enjoy winter....I just get really done with the snow and cold after January. But this year, we seem to have embraced all that a Canadian winter has to help you to have fun in the cold and snow! 
When I see snow, the first thought I have is to stay inside, sit by the fire, read a great book and drink some 'warm my insides up' kind of tea......but my kids want to sled, skate, build snowmen, play house, eat snow, make snow angels, throw snow, shovel snow and after their toes can't be felt, drink a steaming cup of hot chocolate with lots of marshmallows (I am all about that last one!).
You can't leave without tasting an authentic Beaver Tail
Practically in the Beaver Tail Shack for a closer look....
We've done most of those winter activities mentioned above, but when we arrived in Ottawa we were informed that we have to experience Winterlude - a winter festival of snow, ice and Beaver Tails!! We were lucky enough go on these fun adventures with some family and old friends. 
So, off we go to Winterlude in Ottawa.....

Cinnamon and sugar on a yummy sweet bread.....Beaver Tails are so yummy!

Our view as we skated down the Canal, Kaitlyn really
wanted to go visit the princess who lived in that castle :)
Winterlude Gang:
Our Family + Stu, Wil & Ellie (we missed you becks!)

Gigantic Ice slide at Winterlude

Phil & Lily on the Ice Slide at Winterlude

Huge wall carved out of ice and snow

Time to warm up with some hot chocolate

How do you say "Beaver Tail" in french??

Snow sculpture = A-M-A-Z-I-N-G

Our frozen toes didn't allow us to visit every attraction at Winterlude, but they had a giant snow maze, sledding, igloo's with a fire inside, outdoor playground, more ice/snow slides, yummy maple snow toffee and lots more.......
Thanks to all our friends and family who hosted us on this Ottawa Road Trip. We had a blast! 
We're driving back to London tomorrow......back to Gramma's house. Of course, we're leaving at 4am!! Phil's favorite time of departure! :)