Sunday, October 30, 2011


Last night as we were out on deck 8 observing what we thought was a normal sunset, we noticed that the sky was doing unusual things.  I thought I’d share the various viewpoints that I captured over the course of 24 minutes. 

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Out the port side, we could see rain over near Lungi airport – and this massive head cloud – it was impressive.
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Pretty soon the sky was swirling above us and it seemed we were in the eye of a storm.
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Watching these form was a reminder of how small we are.
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We are docked right where the river meets the sea and you can see all the currents changing and merging.
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At this point I was wondering if it’s possible for there to be tornadoes in Sierra Leone.
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Meanwhile, on the starboard side of the ship, the skies were gorgeous blue.
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The sun was setting peacefully, with the storm trying to chase it.
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Dust storm attacked on our dock, but notice all the blue sky!
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On the other side of the ship, you can barely see anything beyond this little tug.
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Sometimes there are not words to describe what you witness.  This can be smiles or expressions, acts of kindness, acts of violence.  But as I watched this beauty in the sky, I couldn’t help but stand in awe of the Creator of the Universe and be reminded that I am held safe in the palm of His hand.

Today I choose to follow You
Today I choose to give my “yes” to You Today I choose to hear your voice and live
Today I choose to follow You

As for me and my house we will serve You
As for me and my house we will spend our lives on You today
Wonderful counselor, everlasting father
Eternal King, Lord of Hosts, willingly we follow
I’ve had this song (by Brian Doerksen) stuck in my head for the past several days and it’s a firm reminder for me to participate in this great life we are given.  I can CHOOSE to follow – choose to give my “yes,” choose to hear, choose to spend my life on Him, and do so willingly.  He is a mighty, awesome God.  I’m so grateful for this choice.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Pumpkin Carving in Africa??

One of our most consistent fall traditions has always been carving pumpkins (and eating the roasted pumpkin seeds).  So this fall we were growing a bit sad to imagine a fall without this event.


However, our grief was in vain! 


Through our chandler (yes, yet another profession I have never heard before living on a ship - along with a steward, a bosun, and a purser!) we acquired a locally grown “pumpkin.” 


It’s a bit different than our October pumpkins back home.

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Green in flesh.  VERY firm and hard to cut.

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Bright on the insides though.

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The girls were prepared for the stink- Kylie, especially, HATES the smell of slimy pumpkin innards, but this was a pleasant surprise.

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It smelled a bit like a cross between honeydew (musk melon) and pumpkin.  Quite nice.

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The insides weren’t as slimy as usual – dryer and easier to separate from the seeds.

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With out handy dandy knife and spoon we were able to rather easily clean it out.

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Savannah was enjoying taking pictures every step of the process.

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Here you can see that it’s not a stringy and wet as our pumpkins.

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Kylie was thoroughly engaged in the whole process.

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And Savannah couldn’t keep the camera away from herself…

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Oh, one day I’ll have to post the thousands of photos I have like this one.

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Voila!  We have ourselves a Jack-o-lantern.


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The seeds were tasty, the pumpkin was illuminated with a battery operated pillar candle, and we had a bit of familiar fall, in the midst of Sierra Leone!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Savannah Montana–Celebrate Like a Rockstar!

This week our baby turned eight (sniff, sniff!).  Can’t believe that she is so big.
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Our little girl who loves playing babies.

Our little girl who can’t wait for ballet each week (back left).

Our little girl who is goofier than goofy- with a pretty goofy looking mouth right now too!
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So shakes her booty any chance she has, rocks out to her Hannah Montana recorded pen, and asked for all things Hannah Montana on her wish list.  So, we decided to celebrate her birthday rockstar style. 
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My cousin Emily helped me to Photo Shop this picture.  There are definitely some limitations to celebrating a birthday on a ship in Africa.  We don’t have access to movie theaters, roller rinks, bounce houses, zoos, or amusement parks to host these events.

But, what we do have is people.  So, we pulled the people in to help us celebrate this one.

Come to lunch dressed like a rock star!
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Here Emily is rocking in out like a star.
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With some decorations and some announcements, you can be the real center of attention, even without a lot of stuff.
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In the background you see Dan (though you may not recognize him), after ringing THE BELL.  The bell in the dining room is the way to get everyone’s attention – usually for a birthday or some other type of announcement (“Trivia will be starting up again this Wednesday night in the cafe- form a team of four!” “Today we will honor the 50th Anniversary of Sierra Leone by singing the national anthem,” etc.). 

While I cringe thinking about the bell being rung for me (which it was, anyway), Savannah pondered the night before her birthday, “I wonder who will ring the bell for me tomorrow…”  She’s a natural rock star in the making.
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With some decorations and a little fun, we were all rock stars for the day!
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I think Juan just wanted a picture with a real life Hill Billy here.
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Back in the cabin Savannah finally got to open her package from Nana & Grandpa.
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Oh the excitement of new clothes, swimsuit and treats!
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Fruit by the Foot!
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What Rock Star doesn’t need a Justin Bieber shirt?  There’s not really Bieber Fever here, but we have heard his songs on the radio – even at the beach.  It’s a surreal moment when you are experience something like that.

Just yesterday a returning crew member arrived with a couple of packages from home for us, including an amazing care package from a friend with lots of party d├ęcor and accessories for Savannah’s friend birthday party which we’ll have in a couple of weeks.  I’m sure another blog will be headed your way to give you a glimpse into that craziness!