Digging for Water, Searching for Tadpoles

Anyone who has stayed in our guest room will know that we have a water issue. For years, we assumed the problem was because the builders didn’t put a damp-proof course under the floor. But then about 2 months ago, the floor in our hall bathroom started to make a puffing noise when we stepped on it. Uh-oh. We finally figured it out. We had a leak. There’s a good chance we’ve had a leak or two under the floor for years.

The guest room and hall bathroom share a wall, and since the tiles on the hall bathroom floor were having problems, we started in the hall bathroom. Would we have to take out the guest room or guest bathroom floor too? We hoped for an easy answer, but we weren’t going to hold our breath.

We chipped out the grout and a few tiles came right out.

You’ll notice that this bathroom was the recipient of all the leftover tiles throughout the house, so I am perfectly ok replacing these tiles!!!

This needed more work than we could do, so our friend Richard came to tackle it. And tackle it he did. Tiles, dust, concrete…. the chiseling and hammering finally got to me. It was so loud it hurt my eardrums and I could hear every hammer hit echo in my head. So the girls and I went on a field trip.

We finished birds in science and are on to amphibians. There’s one great place in town that has tadpoles and frogs, the closest thing we have to a botanical gardens: the Four Seasons nursery complex. We went searching for tadpoles.

And we found them!

There were several large tadpoles, just about ready to sprout legs! I circled one in the pic above – it does look like a stick in the picture, but in real life it was definitely a tadpole!

We stalled a little longer at Four Seasons, completing a nature scavenger hunt and buying some great petunias, but eventually it was time to head home and get dinner started.

We came home to no tile in the hall bathroom!

There is a leak in the sink plumbing! And that would explain the damp in the floors and the tile issues we had had. However, it’s not a big enough leak to explain the guest room and guest bathroom wall problems that we’ve had for years. So Richard has also started on the guest bathroom floors.

See how dark the concrete is? And it has a dank moldy smell. Ugh. Tomorrow Richard will be back to continue the search for leak #2. And Rachel will be looking for another great field trip idea…

Loving Team Time

Over the last several weeks we have had the privilege of hosting a team from The Master’s University. We had a fantastic time with them!

They came to do the kids’ program for our church camp, and stayed around to help with lots of admin projects for both the church and the training center. Then they got to experience life in rural Malawi by spending 3 weeks working with Action International in Ntcheu. Sunday night they came back to our place for a little debrief, and Monday afternoon we dropped them off at the airport.

We so enjoyed this team! Dinners were long and full of conversation.

Our evenings were fun as they loved on our girls.

We got to share life with them and enjoyed showing them some of our favorite things about Malawi.

We were very blessed to get to know these college students! We will miss their deep theological conversation, their hilarious antics, and the genuine love they poured out on us. Thank you TMU team, for the blessing you were to our family and to so many others here in Malawi!

Birdwatching Around the House

We have heard the owls the last few days, but finally saw one roosting this morning.

It’s a barn owl, and apparently there are a couple in our palm tree, and several more in the neighbor’s trees. Unfortunately, they’ve taken up residence in our neighborhood because our neighbor’s stockpile of maize has drawn “hundreds” of mice. The owls are here for the mice, and I hope they have quite the feast! Meanwhile, we’ll enjoy hearing and spotting them in our backyard!

Waiting for Dad

I’m not sure who is more excited for Dad to get home today: Samson or Naomi. It doesn’t matter if he’s gone for three days or half an hour – these two take their watch duty very seriously!

Around the Kitchen

A good portion of my day is spent in the kitchen. Here are some of the things happening around the kitchen these days…

Don’t be jealous, but wow isn’t that beautiful?!? Our avocado tree produced some fantastic fruit this year. We had bucket-loads of guacamole!

Yep, still hauling water! But thankfully only from one side of the kitchen to the other. Some friends of mine have had their city water off for weeks at a time and must haul their water from the local well. It makes me thankful for our water tower!

Pork meatballs with sweet and sour sauce in lettuce wraps… yum! I’ve been cooking my way through a fantastic “better than take-out” Chinese e-cookbook, and we are loving it!

Our friends Chris and Ashley brought us wild raspberries after their recent trip to the Zomba plateau – the only place in Malawi that grows them! Naomi in particular loves the raspberries from Zomba (especially the yellow ones that are in season around her birthday!).

We made quick work of the raspberries and enjoyed every bite!

I loved hanging noodles as a kid. We can buy pasta here, but we can’t get egg noodles, so when we made chicken noodle soup the other night, the girls helped me make and hang noodles. And they loved it! 💕

And since mom hangs out in the kitchen, so do mom’s little friends. All kinds of new skills are learned here, including this current favorite. She’s actually pretty good. She just needs a little more height!

Sundays

We love Sundays around this house! They are non-stop from 8:30am to 7:30pm, but they are filled with our favorite things!

Here’s what a Sunday can hold for us…

We usually leave the house between 8:30 and 8:45, getting to church in time to clean a classroom. Rachel is currently teaching the 4-5 year old Sunday school class, and enjoys a full house of 8-10 imaginative and fun kids!

Matt is on rotation helping teach the adult class on Evangelism, and this week and next he is teaching on the difference between the prosperity gospel and the true gospel of Scripture.

Main service is next, a time to enjoy worshipping the Lord and hearing the teaching of God’s Word with our friends.

We have a few minutes after church to chat with people, then we rush home for Care Group, which begins at our house at 12 noon!

We eat lunch with our Care Group (I feel them peanut butter sandwiches and they keep coming back!), and we really love this group! We have somehow become the “young singles group,” and more often than not we have to draw up a few extra chairs to our 10-seater table!

During lunch we catch each other up on what God is doing in our lives. Afterwards we explore the practical applications of the morning’s sermon and take time to pray for one another. This group cares for one another well and loves to laugh! We are so thankful to the Lord for them, and have been so encouraged seeing them grow in Christlikeness!

After Care Group, either Matt or I or both of us have have meetings for discipleship or counseling. It’s fun to end the afternoon with both of us saying: “God is at work here!”

By this point it’s getting to the late afternoon and we have a Skype appointment each Sunday with Matt’s parents. It’s a fun catch-up time, usually involving some sort of show-and-tell by the girls.

Either before or after dinner, it’s family fun night! It’s our one night of the week to do something special as a family, whether that’s play dominoes, ride bikes, watch a movie, go out to eat, or throw a blanket on the lawn and star-gaze!

By the end of Sundays, we are all tired-happy. These days seem to embody what we love: worship of the Lord and instruction in the Word, ministry and relationships within the church, and sweet family time. We love Sundays!

Birthdays

And we’re back! The WordPress app wasn’t working for several weeks, so I lost my easy way to post! But most of it’s fixed and we’re back now!

In the intervening weeks both Matt and I celebrated our birthdays! I had a big birthday last year (that may have had to do with the #4…), so didn’t want to make a fuss about it this year. But when it came to Matt’s birthday, I realized we’d never done anything big for his birthday before. And growing up, his birthday was always in the same week with his mom’s, his brother’s, and Valentine’s Day, so it was never made too much of then either. But I wanted to do something a little special, a little different for him this year.

I can’t even begin to express how much I love and enjoy this guy! He is a faithful friend, a faithful husband, and a faithful follower of Christ. He loves deeply and enjoys whole-heartedly. He is adventurous, curious, and courageous. When he sees his sin, he is quick to deal with it diligently. When he sees my sin, he is slow to react and careful to lovingly point it out. He loves and trains our girls with patience and clear thinking. He is artistic and witty and makes me laugh every day! He has blessed me and our family in so many ways. As I said the day I first knew I loved him: I would rather go through the worst things in life with him than the best things in life with anyone else.

💕

Well, now that you know how much I love this guy, let’s get to his birthday party!

We invited lots of Matt’s friends over from 4-5pm, and made a valiant effort to ruin everyone’s dinner with…

Cheesecake! Matt requested cookies and cream cheesecakes, so I made 2 of them, with ridiculously expensive cream cheese. 😳 Oye! But it’s his birthday, and he is worth it!

These guys made the party special. It’s not every day you’re surrounded by so many friends.

I’m so glad we were able to celebrate Matt on this day, and so thankful that the girls and I get to enjoy life with him! We are so blessed by this man every day!

Termites and Rain Frogs

It’s finally raining! We’ve had days of grey and stormy skies, and finally last night it started to rain a nice, slow, sweet rain. 14 hours later, it’s still lightly raining. Ahhhh!

It has rained enough to bring out the second wave of termites – the little ones. So of course they must be caught:

Rain frog and termites - 2

The big termites are better for eating, so these we were just catching for fun. Until… we found something that did want to eat them!

Rain frog and termites - 3

Sorry it’s blurry, this little rain frog was really going places!

The girls watched him catch a few termites himself, then they decided to “help” him.

Rain frog and termites - 1

Here froggy! Have a termite!

Oleander Hawk Moth

Not all our bugs are scary. Some are just beautiful! This morning as Matt and Aaron left to teach at CAPA, Aaron found this beautiful oleander hawk moth (Daphnis nerii).