Wifey knows best

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Curried carrot soup recipe below

My husband is a creature of habit. If it were up to him, he would eat chapo and beans every day of the week. I like to mix American and Kenyan food, but he’s always skeptical of my concoctions. Tonight I announced we were having ugali and curried carrot soup (he sometimes eats ugali with with mala, sour milk, so I figured why not eat ugali with something that actually tastes good?). We went back and forth about chapo this and rice that, but I stood my ground.

In the end the soup turned out extremely tasty, but the ugali was a bit too thick (I was so focused on proving a point with the soup that I figured ugali wouldn’t be an issue… pride goes before a fall, eh?)

Anyway, Ray really enjoyed the combo, and as creatures of habit are wont to do, he’s asked that we have it again tomorrow with rice.

Curried carrot soup recipe

1 med onion, chopped
3 tbs oil
1 tsp curry powder
2 tsp flour
3 1/2 cups of beef stock
1lb carrots, peeled and sliced
Salt and pepper
1-2 tsp lemon juice
2 tbs cilantro
1-2 spicy peppers

1. Heat oil in large pan and cook onions until soft
2. Sprinkle curry powder and flour over the onions, stir, pour broth in, and bring to a boil
3. Add carrots, salt, pepper bring to a boil then simmer until carrots are tender
4. Remove pan from heat and purée the soup (I just mash it with a fork or pestle)

5. Bring soup to a simmer and add cilantro, lemon juice, and peppers.

 

I wanted him to hold my hand. He wanted me to hold his stuff.

A few months ago Ray’s company was hired to provide sound equipment and photography for a gospel concert at Daystar University’s Athi River campus. This campus is unique for various reasons, but I’d say the greatest reason is probably the fact that it’s in the middle of a game reserve. Even as we drove up to the campus that day, we were greeted by herds of wildebeest and zebra.

There was one particular zebra beside the road that stopped to stare at us as we stared at him.

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He was standing there watching us for a while, but by the time I got my camera out he was movin’ on out.

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And there he goes!

That zebra, in all its striped majesty possessed the power required to lift me out of out what was quickly developing into a foul mood.

TIA strikes again

See, Ray and I live in a town called Ongata Rongai. With little to no traffic on the road, it’s about half an hour away from Nairobi city. If you leave at the wrong time though, you could be sitting in traffic for an hour or two. That morning Ray’s co-workers were supposed to pick me up and bring me to meet Ray in town. They came on time, we arrived at the rendezvous point, and everything was going according to schedule until… TIA. We ended up sitting in a hot car and waiting for at least two hours before all the other guys showed up.

Aching head? Check.

Sweaty pits? Check.

Growling stomach? Check.

We hadn’t even begun the 40 km drive yet! And fast food restaurants like McDonalds and Subway do not exist here.

When we finally reached Daystar, the zebra encounter managed to distract me enough to keep me from assuming full Hulk-mode, but thankfully Ray noticed that all too familiar greenish hue beginning to surface on my skin, so he wisely took some time to take me to the campus restaurant. We enjoyed a very tasty dinner together before he had to get to business. Crisis averted.

Lost in translation

This was my first official outing with Ray to one of his jobs, so I didn’t know what to expect, but I was hoping that we would get to enjoy it together somehow. We had already had such a lovely dinner together, why let the fact that he was on a job get in the way? If you don’t know already, one of my love languages is quality time, so nothing would have made the night better for me than for Ray to come cuddle up beside me to enjoy the show.

I found a nice bench near the stage and waited for Ray to take care of some preliminary details before joining me. Fluffing my hair and crossing my legs in a “yeah, I’m that guy’s wifey” kind of way, I waited… and waited. Finally he approached.

“Babe, can you hold this bag for me?”

In moments like that it’s very easy for me to be a brat and whine about how he’s not paying attention to me, but then I remembered that not an hour earlier, he had taken time away from setting up with the crew to cater to my needs. The least I could do was comply with his request. Now, one of Ray’s love languages is acts of service, so for me to act like his personal assistant expressed love and support to him in the same way his taking time to eat with me expressed love to me. It sounds simple enough, but not too long after that I found someone to chat with and left his bag of equipment totally unattended. Eventually he took the bag away from me and put it backstage. I had one job to do…

As the night went on and the crowd grew larger, my dull headache quickly spiraled into a stampede of wildebeest back and forth between my temples. Ray was all over the place taking pictures yet coming to check on me periodically, and I was trying to pretend like I was enjoying myself.

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Don’t let this picture fool you. It was taken fairly early in the night.

Normally in the States you have maybe two or three opening acts before the main act appears on stage, but that night there were no less than ten, closer to twenty different acts and with each act, the crowd got bigger and wilder.

daystar crowd

The wildebeest were now frolicking as merrily as the day is long all over my cranial region.

“There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home,” I whispered over and over.

I may have had the Kansas thing going for me, but beige flats does not magic slippers make.

Ray spotted me shriveling in my seat, looking like I wanted to clothesline everyone within a ten yard radius, so he gave his camera to one of the other guys and took me backstage to watch the rest of the show while we cuddled in the corner.

Ahhh, finally.

Before the night was over, Ray gave me what I needed most, a little TLC, and I got to redeem myself by carrying some of his stuff to the car before heading out. That night had all the makings of inciting an icy cold car ride home, what with my ridiculously high expectations despite the fact that Ray was supposed to be focused on work, but we made it work.

In the end I got him to hold my hand and he got me to hold his stuff. But we’ve decided that I won’t be attending anymore jobs in the future.

We’ve been learning a lot about the different ways our love languages have created funny, and not so funny, dynamics in our relationship. Anyone else have any interesting love language stories? We’d love to hear them.

The winds of change are coming

We thought we knew what we were getting into, but we had no idea.

Before Ray and I got together, he had an organization called True Heroes Under God (T.H.U.G.) which purposed to represent talented, vulnerable youth in the music industry. I was a middle school teacher with love for music and dance and a heart for orphans. In our preliminary jabber sessions about what our future would look like, we talked about family-style children’s homes and a compound with a studio, but we really didn’t have a clue about how to turn our ideas into a cohesive unit.

In April we finally got a clear vision and we began writing it down… on our bedroom wall.

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There are many existing children’s homes that would love to provide extracurricular activities for their kids, but only have the resources to cover the basic needs: food, clothing, shelter, and education. That’s where The Joshua Blueprint comes in. We want to come alongside existing children’s homes and schools for orphans and provide access to art and music education.

Our ultimate goal is to provide a facility where the kids from all participating organizations can come and be trained in music, art, dance, film/photography, and acting. There are so many talented kids out here, you’d be amazed. They just need the opportunity. Therefore, our aim is to help these kids develop their God-given talents unto the glory of the Lamb. We want to teach them how the use of their gifts is worship unto the Lord, provide a platform to use their talents to minister to others, start a house of prayer where worship, dance, and art can all be incorporated, and transform the Kenyan music and arts industries for the kingdom of God.

The facility is a long-term goal, but in the meantime we decided to go to a city in the western province of Kenya called Kitale, where there are a large number of organizations that cater to vulnerable children. Rick Strickland, a great friend of ours who works with the Pokot tribe, referred us to three amazing people:

Bill and Patricia Cornell, Vision for Africa

Jeff and Carla Piccici, Rehema, In Step Foundation Children’s Home

Bud and Kimberly Huffman, Mattaw Children’s Village

Our visit began and ended with Bill and Patricia. Of all the new friends and contacts we made in Kitale, they were the most significant. I’ll tell you why in a later post, but without a doubt, they encouraged us personally and spiritually in a way that left a great impact on our hearts.

A glimpse into the beauty of servitude

Under the leadership of the Cornells and the demonstration of Bill’s terrific ability to use four-wheel drive, we arrived at our first destination deep in the interior of western Kenya, Kiminini. Pastor Victor, the founder of Shalom Academy for Orphans, was not available for us to speak with, but we were able to visit the sites of the schools and dialogue with the teachers.

With the help of some generous benefactors, Pastor Victor has been able to take in 472 kids and give them access to education and food they otherwise would not have been able to afford.

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The mud building pictured below is where they started out, but new schools have been built and they are migrating all of the students into the new buildings.

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In the following year, we hope to help Pastor Victor incorporate arts into the students’ curriculum. They also have a desire to compete in music festivals, and they hope that we can help them achieve that goal.

Meeting with like minds

Following our visit to the school, we met with Jeff and Carla in town. Unfortunately, time did not allow for us to get to visit their ministry base, but we had a great time talking with the couple about their vision for the kids that they care for and how we can help them. Their ministry is located in Cherengani, Kitale and currently caters to 153 kids, mostly babies. Although they primarily focus on caring for the basic needs of the children, they also desire to build a medical center and school. In the meantime we would help out with the older kids and get them engaged in some extracurricular activities.

The ones that move His heart

Our final visit was to the Mattaw Children’s Village. Bud and Kimberly Huffman are some of the smartest people we know when it comes to organizing the structure of an overseas ministry. We learned so much from Bud (Kimberly was in Congo pursuing the onset of a dream the Lord put in her heart a long time ago) about how to begin as a fledgling organization, and he answered many of the questions we had been praying about the past few months.

On a tour of the village we got to see the five houses where they have married parents caring for 12 kids (six girls, six boys), a farm where the children are learning to grow their own produce and livestock, a large open play area, and a church where they are currently hosting 24/7 prayer for Kimberly’s safe return from Congo.

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In the future we hope to not only work with training the little ones in music and art, but to teach the kids how to use instruments to engage in the flow of the Holy Spirit in a worship setting. The Mattaw family already has dynamic times of worship together when they meet for church, but in areas such as playing the keyboard, there is a need for something more than the same melody that runs through most songs you hear in Kenyan worship. By simply teaching scales, how to arpeggiate chords, and the circle of fifths, we can unlock keys for these young worshipers to really set an atmosphere for the presence of God.

Gearing up for change

We are still keeping to our commitment as a couple to not get involved in ministry until after a year of marriage has passed, but we will spend the next five months researching, networking, and planning. As we pursue the implementation of this vision, we would love your prayers. Please check out our new Prayer Requests page and let us know you’re standing with us.

Also, feel free to check out the links of the organizations we mentioned and to “like” our Joshua Blueprint Facebook page. You can find tons of pictures of the kiddos there as well as get updates about how the ministry is developing.

We appreciate your love and support through this season of change. God bless.

A Brief Hiatus

This week Ray and I are heading to Bungoma and Kitale to do some work with his grandparents and to do some scouting work for an organization we’ve been dreaming up. Internet access will be limited, so we’ll be unable to post this week. Please keep us in your prayers for safety and for the connections we’ll be making with some people that we hope to stand alongside in ministry. We’ll see you in a week when we get back.

Much love!

Ray & S’ambrosia

Phase 10 in the dark

Phase 10

We’ve been without light in our bedroom for about a week now.

No lie… as I was preparing this post, we lost the light in the kitchen as well. Fare thee well, 20/40 vision and hello bifocals.

The light fixtures throughout our home are faulty and burn every light bulb we attach sometimes after a few hours, but most recently, as soon as we plug it in and flip the light switch. We have to get the caretaker to come change the fixture for us, but we suspect that this may be a recurring issue for two reasons:

1.  The lights throughout the entire apartment building have been flickering, demonstrating that there is most likely an electrical problem. And buildings are made out of concrete here, so it’s no easy feat to access wires and whatnot.

2.  Our toilet, water heater, electrical outlets, and kitchen sink have all experienced similar malfunctions.

Why is this happening?

Because the landlord replaces cheap products with cheap products. Therefore points and one and two actually are very much related because they both are the result of attempts to cut corners to save money. As is the case in most situations regarding poor quality services, the landlord may believe he’s saving money by installing the cheapest products he can find, but he’s ultimately costing himself much more in the long run.

A month or two ago they changed the switches for the water heaters in all 21 flats. Many of our neighbors had also been complaining about impromptu cold showers. It seems that when the landlord either installed or replaced the switches, he used cheap products, so all of the switches started crapping out at about the same time. Even after this last replacement, it didn’t take two weeks for our switch to go kaput again. If ours died so fast, I know other tenants have been experiencing the same problem. We ended up just buying a more expensive switch on our own and replacing it ourselves. There was no point in continuing the cycle.

Once again the reader asks, “So what’s your point?”

This post isn’t meant to serve as a sounding board for me to rattle off complaint,s as much as it is to be what folks in the education biz call a “teachable moment”.

This is a challenge to you to always strive for the best, especially if you’re in the midst of making a decision that pits short-term comfort over long-term trouble. You can’t expect great results to come from anything that costs you little to nothing. You’re paying for what you get and sooner or later the lack of quality will come back to bite you in the wallet. Sometimes it may result in a minor inconvenience for others and yourself, but then there are times that your negligence can result in very destructive situations (i.e. house fires and the like).

If ever you are tempted to take the easy or cheap way out, just remember us as we struggle to play Phase 10 as the sun sets.

 

Words you can’t take back

Sometimes Ray makes me so mad.

It’s in those moments of anger that a green tint comes into my skin, I grow to be 10x my size, I can destroy an entire room, and unlike the Hulk who was tragically mute, the vilest words come flying out of my mouth. Spit is probably the best way to describe the way these words shoot off of my tongue, because what I do conjures up images of snakes spitting poison on a target. You don’t want to be in the way when the poison finds its mark.

Greater insight for good or evil

Being married to someone means you have the privilege of knowing them inside and out. I know what moves Ray’s heart, what makes him smile, and what grieves him. Unfortunately, it also means that I know the best ways to hurt him.

As a teacher, I used to give my students the love language quiz for kids  the first day of class to help me connect with each of them better.

  • If their love language was gifts, I would give them candy or let them have extra “recess” time. These kids were the ones that would wear the hair clips I made for them for Christmas or the bracelets I brought back from my first visit to Kenya until they disintegrated.
  • If their love language was physical touch, I would give them a hug when they came into the classroom or sometimes they just liked for me to put my hand on their shoulder while I talked to them. It was funny when the 7th grade took the quiz though, because some of the boys scored high in physical touch, but once they realized what the quiz was for, they erased their answers so touch became their lowest love language.
  • If their love language was words of affirmation, I would write special notes on their papers and praise them in front of their peers.
  • If their love language was quality time, I would have them come to my classroom for lunch or take them out on the weekends or just sit and talk with them a bit when there was free time in the classroom.
  • If their love language was acts of service, I would make a special effort to help them with work before, during, and after class. I don’t recall many students having this love language though. Most were gifts, affirmation, and quality time.

Whenever I used the students’ love language to express admiration or satisfaction, their behavior and work ethic would improve dramatically, but if I used their love language to express disappointment, the impact could ruin an entire day of instruction. Say I have a student that needs words of affirmation. If I tell her that she didn’t quite make the mark on a piece she wrote, or I have lots of corrections on her paper with limited words of encouragement, her entire countenance will drop, and she’ll sit at her computer and stare at the screen until I dismiss the class.

Likewise, words of affirmation is one of my husband’s love languages; therefore, when I talk on and on about how much I think he sucks, it literally stings. This basic need that he has to be affirmed can be used for good or evil, and all too often I choose the latter over the former.

Taking it to the net

I’ve had my fair share of Facebook vomited statuses and still find myself posting things only to take them down two minutes or two hours later. I really wish someone would explain to me what the draw is to broadcast personal issues via Facebook status. Why is it that when I’m mulling over something that upsets me, I form fifteen different statuses in my head, each one more vicious than the last, to post on Facebook? It doesn’t make any sense to me.

Now I’ve been on the receiving end of some positively nasty Facebook posts. You wonder how people could speak so illy of you, put you on blast like that, and still be a Christian. It’s very easy to cry foul in those situations. But I try to be sneaky about it. I opt for the more vague approach. I try to write my rants figuratively so that most people will believe I’m talking about topic x instead of my dear husband. It’s all the same though. I am still disrespecting my husband publicly, adding insult to the private injuries I had already given him.

One piece of advice that my good friend Dana gave me before marriage was to ensure that I fought fair. Now that I’m ankle-deep in the throes of marriage, I can totally vouch for her sage advice. It’s so important to take time to calm yourself before engaging in an altercation with a spouse or even before logging on to Facebook, because it’s so easy to say the wrong thing, the most hurtful thing and cause damage in a your relationship that may take a very long time to bounce back from. Erasing the status, especially after the person has already seen it, and saying “I’m sorry” don’t have the power to cure these wounds either.

Before we got married I did a 30 day challenge with Revive Our Hearts to speak encouraging words to and about Ray. I think it’s about time I started that again. I want to get into the habit of using his love language to build him up, not tear him down. You in? If you take the challenge, be sure to leave comments of how it works out for you along the way. I’d love to hear your stories.

P.s. Now that I’ve written this post, you all have permission to call me out if you see me writing any negative statuses on Facebook. That is, if my conscience doesn’t get me first.

Addendum: Be sure to read Erin Jone’s comment below. She gives some really good perspective.

The green-eyed marriage: is your marriage monster-proof?

Maybe it’s because we’re still newlyweds (coming up on eight months now) or maybe we’re just really insecure, but our marriage seems to be the perfect dwelling place for that ugly little creature called the green-eyed monster (GEM).

“Who are you talking to?”

“Why are you looking at her Facebook profile?”

“Can we walk down this street instead of that one? There are too many good looking people over there.”

The insatiable desire to be THE ONE AND ONLY

As a single person, I used to have a particular fantasy about my future spouse. He would be on stage performing or preaching with a million beautiful women in the crowd dying to get his attention. These ladies would be some of the most beautiful women on the planet, and in comparison I would feel quite… less than. Suddenly, the man on stage would peer out into the audience and say, “You. I want you.” Like most women, I would look around and prepare myself to envy the lucky lady he referred to and maybe even trip her as she approached the stage, but then the crowds would part and it would become obviously apparent that he was speaking to yours truly.

Again, he would say to me, “You. You’re the one I want.”

I would have to be an idiot to not see how much of a catch Ray is. He has the cutest dimples, boyish charm, and he’s one of the kindest men I’ve ever met. He truly is the epitome of the guy I envisioned on stage. Even though he’s married, especially now that he’s married and people see what a wonderful husband he is, there are some women (I use other terms for them when it’s just Ray and I) that will flirt with him and try to get his attention.

Just last week a young girl that works at the shop by our house told my husband that if she cooked for him, he would never want to eat my food again. It took the almighty right hand of the dear, sweet Lord Jesus Christ to keep me from going downstairs and punching her in the esophagus when Ray told me what she said. Fortunately, Ray handled it by taking me with him to the shop and introducing me as his “lovely” wife and excessively commenting on my beauty. I could’ve kissed him right there, I was so pleased by the way he handled it, but I didn’t want to rub it in. The fact that I didn’t severely injure her was kindness enough.

That was an obvious example of how GEM typically surfaces in my heart, but I’ve found that he enjoys pushing my buttons when it comes to small things as well. When Ray scrolls through Instagram photos, I make him unfollow any girls that have that “come hither” look. When he’s chatting with friends or clients on Facebook, I read through the messages just to make sure he’s not flirting (he never is, but I still do it anyway). When he’s on the phone laughing, I come running from the other room to try and ascertain if it’s a male or female voice. I’d like to say that it matters if it’s male or female, but it doesn’t. Sometimes he can be talking to his best friend, and I can’t wait for him to hang up so I can have him to myself.

A quick bit of perspective from Ray’s end so you don’t think the monster is me in disguise

When my wife first came up with the idea for this blog, I was like, “Really? Jealousy? I’m not jealous of anything.” But I have come to realize that this has been, and to some extent still is, something I personally fight with. Early in our marriage (I know we are still in the early stages, but you know what I mean) I didn’t like it when my wife laughed at other guys’ jokes or when she shifted her attention from me to any other person, especially a guy, irrespective of age, profession, or even if they were family. Sometimes I would get mad at her when she constantly giggled while looking at the screen of her other ‘baby’ (her iPhone) at odd hours of the night, forgetting that in Kansas it was daytime.

One area where we can never be like God

At first we used to justify the presence of the GEM in our marriage by saying stuff like, “If we’re not jealous, it shows we don’t care”. There is an element of truth to that. I’d hate it if I was crossing the boundaries of flirtation and it didn’t bother my husband at all. Disinterest to that extent can be dangerous! Just as God is jealous for the affection of Israel, His betrothed, there should be an intense desire for the affection our spouses.

But we have to remember that we’re not God.

Jealousy is such a tricky emotion because when it is borne out of a heart that is in constant need of spiritual renewal, it can become the puppet to insecurity, control, anger, and all those other nasty things that lurk in our hearts waiting for a reason to be lured out of their dark hiding places. I think that’s why we’re told in the Bible to avoid jealousy and envy and all manifestations of selfish ambition. Our weak, feeble hearts just don’t know how to handle it. It’s like a chainsaw. In the hands of someone who knows how to use it, the largest trees can be conquered, but put it in the hands of someone who doesn’t, and that will be the last day you see them with all of their extremities intact.

The best way we know to handle this is to present our hearts and all that’s in them to God on a daily basis and to repent to each other and to God when things get out of hand, but we’d like to end this blog by opening the discussion up to you guys to see what else we can do to supplement that.

Do you experience jealousy in your marriage? How do you handle it?

Looking forward to hearing your comments and ideas!

He had it coming: laying down my right to be right

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I’m a sucker for any movie where justice is duly served. Whether the plot involves the stereotypical high school social pariah exposing the Queen Bees of the school for their evil misdeeds or it’s a movie like the recently released “Non-stop”, where an air marshal has to convince the entire world that he’s not a terrorist. The emotion the actors portray as they receive retribution for the wrongs done against them always demonstrates a certain power to call forth spontaneous water spoutage from my tear ducts, but I’ll admit, it’s also comforting for me to watch the bad guy eat crow. I mean everyone knows: he had it coming.

I said something to Ray the other day about such kinds of movies and how they give us a non-biblical view of justice as we applaud those who do what God commands believers not to do, take matters of vengeance into their own hands (Rom. 12:19), but I was merely saying that to condemn modern society, not because I wanted to stop watching such movies or that I felt any sort of personal conviction. Of course God is always good about turning my hypocrisy on its head, so as I asked the Lord to show me the first step to inner healing last week, He took His handy dandy flashlight and shone it on that particular area of my heart.

(Now let me interject here that I have no prescribed method for this journey to inner healing. Some people reading this blog know a lot more about inner healing than I do and can boil it down to step one, step two, and so on. What I’m sharing is specific to my heart and the way I feel God is leading me to heal, so try not to take it as a formula or anything. If it speaks to you and your situation it does; if it doesn’t, it doesn’t.)

Laying down my right to be right

Finally deciding to deal with pain from my past has been pretty overwhelming for me. It’s like peering into the deepest part of my soul and finding a huge mess of dark, dirty clutter. I don’t even know where to begin. There’s so much in there that I can’t tell root from tip, stronghold from foothold. I have a handout from a friend on inner healing, and I recently downloaded a book on forgiveness, but in light of my recent post How S’ambrosia is Getting Her Groove Back, I decided that the best way for me to tackle this issue was to just sit before the Lord for myself and ask Him directly. That’s as good a place to start as any, right?

So there I sat with my legs crossed, eyes closed, and palms open, asking the Lord to show me what to do. The answer came pretty quickly. “Lay down your right to be right.” This isn’t the root of my pain by any means, but it is a facet of pride that keeps me from being able to see the entirety of the situation as God does. Until I can see the situation as He does, I’ll never be able to have mercy and compassion towards the other person as He does. As I sat before the Lord, He began to show me how many times He’s tried to bring conviction to my heart, but I’ve shut Him out because I knew that I wasn’t the one at fault.

The mantras that nag me

“I wouldn’t be in this place if it wasn’t for them.”

“They did this to me, so they deserve that to happen to them.”

“They’re the ones acting ungodly right now, not me.”

These are just a few of the excuses that I’ve repeated to myself whenever that inward tug to extend grace to someone that has hurt me comes to my heart. Essentially, I get around it by maintaining that I’m right and they’re wrong. Holding on to this belief keeps me from being able to see how un-Christlike I am being in dealing with the matter. There may be some truth to what I chant to myself; the other person may have wounded me deeply by their actions, but as far as God is concerned, my refusal to forgive or extend grace to them is just as bad, because I’m setting up my heart for some major bitterness. Just like an open, untreated wound can invite all sorts of nasty bacteria, the way I allow my heart to remain untreated by Christ allows all strains of bitterness, anger, and contempt to take root.

What true forgiveness looks like

I’ve claimed that I’ve forgiven these people many times over, but I’ll know that true forgiveness has occurred when I can look or think upon them without wanting to see them suffer. True forgiveness is wanting the best for whomever once set themselves against you as your enemy. It’s not rejoicing in their calamity, but actively praying for the goodness of God to transform their lives just as much as you desire Him to transform yours. I never would have called myself bitter before, I just proclaimed myself as a victim who wanted, nay, needed justice to be served so the people could come groveling back to me and beg for forgiveness.

Yeah… how I didn’t realize that that attitude is the epitome of bitterness, I don’t know.

So this is the first step for me. I’m going to spend this week going through some of the most painful relationships I have, bring them to the Lord, and lay down my right to be right. All feelings of deserving an apology or vindication that mask themselves as justice are going to be brought before the feet of the beautiful and merciful judge Jesus Christ. If you’re going along this journey with me, I would encourage you to take this week to do the same. Like I said, this isn’t a step by step guide to inner healing. I honestly have no idea where this will even go next,but I hope the Lord uses this to speak to your heart as He is speaking to mine.

The top 3 wasteful things my AmeriKenyan wife does in the kitchen

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(Note from Sam: the other day Ray and I were watching a movie where some American kids were having a food fight. The scene reminded me of my high school days, so in an attempt to elicit some fun stories from my husband, I harmlessly turned to Ray and asked, “Did you guys ever have food fights in school?” He looked at me like I had six eyeballs and said, “No… we can’t afford stuff like that. People are dying of starvation here. How can we have food fights?” That was part of the inspiration behind this post.)

1. Eating bananas

It’s true that people die of poverty in some parts of Kenya every year,  so from childhood we are raised with sayings such as, “Anything that’s not poisonous is food,” or “Put on your plate that which you can finish,” and so on. On several occasions I have passed by a grocery shop to get a banana or two for my wife, with the aim of bringing my A game as a husband, only for my wife to give me a crestfallen look when she realizes the banana is kind of old or has black spots. She typically bites off a section of the banana that is purely white, and for a moment thinks of throwing the rest, but then she remembers Mama Jeannette’s voice saying, “Sam, kids are dying in Africa.” It’s usually then that she remembers she has an African for a husband, so she gives me the rest to finish.

2.Tomatoes, green pepper, avocado, and cilantro

It would be nothing more than wishful thinking for me to say that we are a wealthy couple. Every shilling and scrap of food we have in the house counts. If my wife notices the tomatoes are a bit squishy, she will remove all the inner parts and just use the skin. When she first moved here, she would just throw them away altogether. Same thing with avocado. Here we don’t throw avocado away until it has turned black on the inside. My wife will throw it away as soon as it gets too squishy for her liking, which is what we call ripe. If a green pepper is slightly old and soft or the cilantro has like two or three black leaves, my taste buds will have to go without those flavorful ingredients for a meal. See, we don’t have a refrigerator, so if we use half of a green pepper in a dish, the other half will stay on the counter until we need it in another dish. Sam has to force herself not to throw them away even when the edges start curling in.

A man marries a woman hoping she would never change, a woman marries a man thinking that she can change him.Source : http://www.coolnsmart.com/funny_marriage_quotes/
A man marries a woman hoping she would never change, a woman marries a man thinking that she can change him.Source : http://www.coolnsmart.com/funny_marriage_quotes/
A man marries a woman hoping she would never change, a woman marries a man thinking that she can change him.Source : http://www.coolnsmart.com/funny_marriage_quotes/
A man marries a woman hoping she would never change, a woman marries a man thinking that she can change him.Source : http://www.coolnsmart.com/funny_marriage_quotes/

3. Piling up utensils

This one isn’t wasteful as much as it is weird for me. From childhood, Kenyan girls are raised to believe they are helpers, like in the physical sense. It would be so rude after dinner for a young girl to sit there with the elders watching TV when dirty utensils are all over the table. Culturally it’s her duty not only to take it to the kitchen, but to clean it as well. My wife lets the dishes pile up and washes them at her own time. She blames the fact that aside from the last place she lived, she always had a dishwasher, so she’s not a fan of washing dishes. At first I never used to like it, but once I realized that she has her own way of doing housework, I had to accommodate her way of doing things. She reminds me of my sister who, when it comes to cleaning, is slow and may appear lazy, but once she gets to cleaning, the house will be sparkling clean.

(Sam: I’m also learning to accommodate my husband by changing my habits around the house so as to honor him and his culture. As much as I hate dishes, I’ve grown to hate having Ray come home to a sink full of dirty dishes even more, so that has helped pushed me out of some of my lazy habits [though I’m not going to lie, I still go a day or two without doing the dishes]. And to this day, I’ve used old, soft, or blackened vegetables in recipes and I have yet to get sick. It’s sad to think about all of the vegetables I’ve wasted in the past. Once we get back to the States, I think I’ll be able to get more value out of our fruits and veggies, so I’m very grateful to the Kenyan culture for that.)