Friday, July 31, 2009

a quarter of a century!

For a quarter of a century we've enjoyed our front row seats watching the adventures of Tali.

We're looking forward to what the next quarter century will bring.

But for today, we wish her a very happy birthday.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

when the wrong road is the right road

Greg Mortenson took the wrong path while hiking down from his failed attempt to climb the Himalayan mountain K2, and it changed his life.

He was weak and ill because he had spent three days and all his strength to help rescue a fellow climber. After that effort, he realized he could not recover his strength enough to safely attempt to climb the summit. He decided to head back down to the town where he had set out from three months before.

During seven days of walking, he became separated from his porter. He missed the turn to civilization and instead found himself in a tiny remote village, the first foreigner ever to enter there.

The villagers welcomed him warmly, generously shared their meager food and shelter, and Greg began to recover his strength.

As he became stronger, he gave what he could to the villagers. He distributed the possessions from his pack, the nalgene bottles and flashlights, the camping stove, his warm clothing. But what was of most help to the villagers was Greg's nursing skills. He used the medical supplies he'd brought and his training as a trauma nurse to help with all manner of health problems among the villagers. He became known and is still known as "Dr Greg."

It was when he visited the village "school" that Greg Mortenson found the way he really could show his gratitude to the villagers for their kindness to him, and it has become his life's mission. He saw the children of the village meeting in the open air, sitting on the ground, copying their multiplication tables in the dirt with sticks. He saw their eager desire to learn and felt his "heart was being torn out."

That day Greg, who had only enough money to pay for his trip back to California, promised to return to the village and build a school.

Three Cups of Tea is the story of how Greg accomplished that. And of how in the process, he has been kidnapped, has received death threats, and even fatwas issued by angry mullahs. In spite of all this Greg has gathered the resources and found the people to build not only the school in the village of Korphe, but 178 schools in villages in remote regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan, and has also set up many schools in refugee camps.

This is the story of a determined man who has really given his heart to his project of helping people in remote areas whose own governments have neglected them. It's an exciting adventure as well as a heartwarming tale of sacrifice and work.

In the 16 years since he strayed off the trail, Greg's work has served 28,000 students and is still growing - this month he opened a new school in Afghanistan. Adm. Mike Mullen, the U.S. chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was there, and so was Thomas Friedman. You can read about it here.

Greg's approach could be summed up by this bit of wisdom. "When your heart speaks, take good notes." As his heart has spoken, not only his life, but many others' as well, have been profoundly changed.

Three Cups of Tea is written by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin and published by Penguin Books.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

she's golden

Happy golden birthday to our golden girl.

She's much more than a ray of sunshine in our lives.

Monday, July 27, 2009

dive buddies

From our trip to the Bahamas

Saturday, July 25, 2009

happiness is a bowl of cherries

When I was a child I loved to climb any tree, but to climb a cherry tree was pretty much to climb to heaven.

My grandparents had cherry trees in their yard and I would take a bucket to put some cherries in, but instead of filling the container, I'd sit in the tree and feast on cherries until I couldn't eat any more.

I'm still inclined to eat too many cherries, and I while I do it, to think back to those happy times in a tree surrounded with that sweet, juicy fruit.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

birthday donuts

I would guess that most parents are pretty sure, from the moment their daughter is born, that there will never be anyone good enough to be her boyfriend, and certainly not her husband. We sure felt that way. Until we met Paul.

Happy Birthday to our favorite son-in-law.

Too bad you're not here to help us eat the donuts.

Monday, July 13, 2009


Eliza M Hickok

I know not by what methods rare
But this I know, God answers prayer.
I know that He has given His Word,
Which tells me prayer is always heard,
And will be answered, soon or late.
And so I pray and calmly wait.
I know not if the blessing sought
Will come in just the way I thought;
But leave my prayers with Him alone,
Whose will is wiser than my own,
Assured that He will grant my quest,
Or send some answer far more blest.

Eliza M. Hickok, “Prayer,” The Best Loved Religious Poems, ed. James Gilchrist Lawson, New York: Fleming H. Revell Co., 1933, p. 160

Ezra Taft Benson (1899-1994) memorized this poem as a boy growing up in Idaho and he used to quote it from time to time when he became a church leader. I always enjoyed hearing it.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Lost and Found

You wouldn't expect to discover a great recipe in an orthodontist's office, but that's where I found the recipe that foreshadowed this Asian Pasta. I was browsing through a magazine when a recipe caught my eye and I hurriedly scribbled it into a little notebook I had with me. I tried it out right away and we loved it. I thought my sister-in-law would love it, but I procrastinated sending it to her, and then, before we could even enjoy the recipe a second time, I lost it!

At the next orthodontist appointment I looked for the magazine and it wasn't there. Then I looked for the magazine in the library with no luck. I pined for it and really regretted that I hadn't shared the recipe when I first thought of it. (Always share your recipes, you'll know who to call when you can't find one!) I wished I'd typed it out and added it to my recipe book. And I started a quest to find that recipe somehow.

It was several years later when I discovered a similar recipe in the newspaper and we've been enjoying it ever since. Every time I make it I'm glad I was able to discover it a second time.

Asian Pasta
1 (8 oz) pkg linguine

1 chicken breast or two thighs, cooked and cubed

1 bunch green onions (about 1/2 C)
about half a pint of grape tomatoes halved or 3 med tomatoes to make about 1 cup diced
2 med ribs celery (about 3/4 C)
1 med cucumber (about 3/4 C)
(or try some other vegetables, like carrots, and/or sweet pepper)

1/4 C vegetable oil
3 tablespoons peanut butter
1/4 C soy sauce
1/4 C sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar or white vinegar
a half inch piece of ginger, minced and crushed or 1 t ground ginger
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste

1/4 C unsalted peanuts, chopped


Cook Linguine acccording to package directions.

Chop vegetables and place in 3 qt serving bowl along with the chicken.

Mix all sauce ingredients together until smooth. Set aside until pasta is done.

Chop the peanuts and set aside.

When pasta is tender, drain and add to bowl with veggies and chicken. Then pour the sauce over it and stir it all together. Sprinkle the chopped peanuts over the mixture and serve right away.

This makes a nice meal for four. For our family of six, I always doubled it.

We served this last week when our neighbors came over for dinner, and I left the sugar out of the sauce. It tasted fine. So you can cut the sugar down to nothing if you'd like, without ruining the flavor at all.