Thursday, December 30, 2010

An invitation

check out the new pictures in the slideshow, took me all morning to upload them...and that only took us to mid-December....whew! More to come...happy new year friends and family! Hope your Christmas was merry.

Taking a break from their snow chopping to enjoy some cocoa.
And back to work.  
Stumpy (who's not so stumpy anymore) says it's been a good year.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

We're suckers for British humour!

Z's favorites are the nighttime/daytime bird and the chipmunk, mine are Sid and the owls. I think Ben liked the monkeys best. Happy Christmas!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Family times

I find myself ahead of the game a bit this year, things for Christmas are mostly done, only fun things left to do this week with the kids.  Last week Ben and I embarked upon a media free time with the kids, I felt they were spending too much time either watching TV or playing on the computer.  It took lots of extra energy to get organized enough to have a bit more of a schedule for them, that involved one of us reading to them or playing with them, but they're always happy to help in the kitchen.  Z can crack an egg with one hand already (I think I was in my twenties!),  Juju can crack eggs too and knows to pick out any shell that drops in the bowl.  Z is obsessed with cooking his own soup and making his own spices.  He carries it around and has us try it on everything.  "Buddy's Super Spice" is not that bad on potatoes, actually.

We've been very domestic lately, making yogurt and cheese about a week ago.  My mom was here to help still, and I may wait till she comes back for a visit to try the cheese again.  It took us an hour and a half to make 30 minute mozzarella.  I cheated this year, and though we did make some cut-out cookies for the Mommy Group a couple weeks ago, we didn't make any other fancy Christmas cookies.  But we did happen upon a new easy creation that hardly counts as work. I call them pretzel mints.  Here's the recipe for them.  Takes five minutes in the oven, half hour from start to finish if I'm mass producing them.  We actually bought Christmas colored Cadbury's chocolate candies to put on top instead of m&m's and they look even cuter, like little winter hats with a bobble on top!  Yum.  We packaged them up for neighbors, to be delivered tomorrow night.

I had started buying presents at the beginning of November, well, I suppose some I bought at the Farmer's Market over the Summer, but not many.  We made a New Year's resolution this year to buy locally or fair trade whenever possible and I feel we did pretty well this year, but especially in our Christmas buying.  I can count on one hand the presents that were mass production and imported.  I stayed in contact with artisans whose displays I liked from local festivals or the farmer's market, called them up in November and ordered Christmas presents, shopped at local artists' shops or made the gift myself (only four people this year!).  I learned from last year, making too many gifts stresses me out.  We bought the bulk of our gifts at the World Craft Store in Kidron, though it's not local it is fair trade and supporting a good cause.

We have a tradition of only getting each other one gift at Christmas to symbolize God's gift to us: Jesus.  I can tell you what the kids are getting as they're too little to read this!  Z has consistently asked for a "Whack-a-mole" game since he saw one at the store a while back, so that's what he got.  I wanted to do something sentimental for Juju as at 2 years old they don't remember much.  Make no sense?   Well, if I make her a gift, and we save it, she'll know later what she got and that it was special.  So, I made her a big chunky necklace with a magnetic clasp and am putting it in an ice cream cone purse that was knitted by a lady down the road.  I can't wait.  Speaking of which, I really need to go finish making that necklace.

May you all have a stress-free week, enjoying each other, enjoying food, caring for others less fortunate, living life to the fullest!!    

Friday, December 10, 2010

The First Noel by Marcella

She never played piano before she came to our house four months ago!

Our Marcella

Dear Marcella, 
Hello dear!  I wonder when you'll finally read this!  I may have to drop a hint, we'll see... I wanted to post all about you and share with the world all the things you've taught the Wigtons about Indonesia, life and God since you joined us through the IVEP program and I figured I'd just make it a letter to you.  

Ben and I really didn't know anything at all about Indonesia before you arrived.  We read a little pamphlet that told us some things I didn't understand at the time, like how your culture is more indirect rather than direct and will more readily tell others how they feel about you rather than tell you to your face and that I may have to ask you three times before trusting that a "no" answer really means no, when offering you food or other things to be nice.  

We also learned that Indonesia is the fourth largest country in the world (by population) and that there are six major religions that it hosts, with Muslim being the greatest by 85%, then Christianity by 12%.  Also though we knew Indonesia had several islands, we had no idea that there were 17,508 of them!  Nor that they stretched across almost 5 billion square miles (only 1 billion square miles smaller than the US in total land mass).  I'm in awe that there are 2-3 hundred ethnic groups in Indonesia and each one has it's own language, traditional clothing and practices.  I love all the Indonesian traditional clothes that I've seen:
Now that you've been with us for four months we've learned so much about your culture and you, though we have lots to learn still.  We really mean it when we tell you that you are a gifted musician, the fact that you can play piano and guitar so well by ear and not had lessons means you have a gift.  We're so impressed by you!  We had a funny moment when you first got here and I gave you the job of shredding the carrot skins off with something like this: 
You said to me, "What do I do with this?"  It dawned on me at that moment that we might as well be from different planets.  Wow.  Of course, it turned out that what you use in Indonesia isn't all that different, and we happened to have one on hand, thanks to a recent gift from my Grandma: 
Now you like the American kind of peeler and I like the kind you were used to.  So funny.  It still blows me away to know that in Indonesia most people wash their laundry by hand and only keep 3-4 changes of clothes.  I've learned from you that since you're closer to the equator you have the same hours of light and darkness every day, all year around: 6-6.  How strange to us it would be to have darkness in the evening all year around.  Since it's about 83 degrees Fahrenheit all year you have little need for running hot water and so don't mind not having such in your house, though it would not be fun here in Ohio!  We do need more changes of clothes here with all the changes in weather, but probably not as many as most of us Americans keep, but you're finding this out.  

I love that your culture is a blend of Chinese, Dutch and Portugese cultures.  Your language reflects it, I find it fascinating.  
Here's my list that is hanging in the kitchen, so I never lose it: 
How do you say ___?  = Bagaimana kamu mengatakan __?
Excuse me. =  Permisi
Where is ________? = Di mana _______?
Good morning! = Selamat Pagi! 
How are you? = Apakabar?
Please eat! = Silahkan Makan (my favorite)
Thank you = Terima Kasih
You're welcome = Sama Sama
We love you = Kami cinta kau.

I especially like how in Indonesian language when you make something plural you say it twice (unless it's an English word you use there) and I won't ever forget that "tooth" is "gigi" and that "teeth" is "gigi gigi".   I still don't completely understand why your middle name, which we thought was your last name, sounds so Italian, or all the rules for men and women regarding taking on different family names, like you and your brother do.  But, I suppose we still have time to learn.  Thankfully, we get to keep you all the way through July 2011.  
You are such a hard worker, I wonder if you worked this hard in Indonesia.  You work nearly a full time job at our church doing secretarial and pastoral work and still work twenty hours a week at the coffee shop ministry too.  I love that you have found some foods that you love to eat here like quesadillas, chili and hash browns.  You're so nice, I don't know if you genuinely like all the foods I make you or if you'd just never tell me.  It's ok, in our culture, to say you don't like something.  Maybe it is in yours too, but you've been sweet as sugar and I wouldn't know if it was.  We have really loved all the foods you've made us, the Singaporean coconut chicken rice, the fried rice, the beef with red chilis, and my favorite, the chicken and rice porridge.  I hope we can find more of the sweet soy sauce some day, it's dreamy over that porridge!  Thanks for bringing some for us to try!  

Maybe someday we can translate your books, "Radical for Jesus," and "Matters of the heart" into English together.  Seems like a fun family project, does it not?  

We're making lots of fun memories together, day by day.  We're so very thankful to have you as part of our WigLives for one whole year.  Thank you for all you've taught us and will teach us.  You're a wonderful addition to our family.  Kami cinta kau!  

-Your Ohio Family

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Good Friday all year round

Our church just asked us all to write a devotional message for printing in a little Christmas advent devotional guide.  Here's what I came up with:

At Christmas we celebrate the Savior’s birth, at Easter, His resurrection.  In between them, though, is an important day we overlook as Christians.  Good Friday is the day our Lord was brutally murdered.  I feel that we push this day to the side because it reminds us of our need for someone to die for us.  We just don’t want to be reminded of our own personal giant bailout, let alone tell others about it.  Worse yet, our avoidance of Good Friday and the crucifixion, I believe, is symbolic of how we tend to live our lives in American culture.  We are entitled to a “good life” here in America and feel spurned by God if we don’t get our due.  We spend most of our energies, monies, and conversations trying to feel as good as or better than others.   We constantly give ourselves grace instead of holding ourselves to a higher standard, when the Bible clearly says, “Now you must give yourselves to be slaves to righteous living so that you will become holy” (Romans 6:19b). New life in Christ insists on a radical new way of living: Forgiving others, loving our enemies, building others up instead of ourselves and self-discipline in a country that gives us every freedom in the world.  Death is not a subject we like or are comfortable with, but is one that Christians, of all people, should know well.   In this world that does everything opposite of how God intended, it only makes sense that our lives in Him, would begin with death.   Neglecting the price paid for this precious gift of salvation demeans it, doesn’t make it attractive to others or help them know how they can have it too.   

“Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. 
Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. 
Don’t look out only for your own interests, 
      but take an interest in others, too.
You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.

 Though he was God,
      he did not think of equality with God
      as something to cling to.
 Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
      he took the humble position of a slave
      and was born as a human being.
   When he appeared in human form,
      he humbled himself in obedience to God
      and died a criminal’s death on a cross.

Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor
      and gave him the name above all other names,
 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
      in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
      to the glory of God the Father.”
Philippians 2:3-11