{Post by the Husband} A New Definition of Cold

June 21, 2012 § 2 Comments

While friends and family back home in Seattle are enjoying the 3 months of sunshine that Seattle receives each year (at least in theory. Juneuary anyone?), Laura and I are in the midst of winter here in Zambia. According to the typical Seattle person, winter brings images of 40 degrees (F), grey skies, and rain. In Zambia, winter means night-time temperatures which dip to as low as perhaps 40-45 degrees (F) and daytime temperatures around 65 degrees (F) and usually sunny. To a Seattle person, this no doubt sounds like heaven – 65 degrees and sun?!? That would be a great Seattle summer day.

The funny thing about living someplace new – Laura and I no longer think 65 degrees and sun is warm. In fact, you will likely find us wearing a sweater and even a winter coat these days (see above picture). Sometimes, we dress with more layers than the locals. I expect our Seattle friends are incredulous, but what can we say?

To be fair, houses here do not have insulation, so it can be chilly inside. But the reality is, we are no longer warm with 65 degree (F) weather. It will stay chilly until about August. September will bring temperatures of above 90 degrees (F), and at this point I say none too soon. Bring on the heat!

{Wife Note} You can tell we’ve been married for almost 4 years because we are dressed nearly identically!



June 18, 2012 § Leave a comment

Winter has come to Lusaka and this is what it feels like inside our house (with the heat on and I’m wearing leggings, jeans, socks, slippers, a tank top, long sleeve shirt, t-shirt, sweater, and scarf. Not. even. joking.):

This is from Lake Chelan in 2011 but this is how it FEELS in my non-insulated house here in Africa in June.

Seasons of life

March 18, 2011 § 1 Comment

"Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers." - Psalm 1:1-3 NIV

It is still winter.  Sometimes it feel like it will always be winter.  That the endless days of gray and dreary weather will always be there. The warmth of Summer and the colors of Autumn have been forgotten.  The cold envelops all that it encounters.  And yet, Spring is coming.  There is a hidden beauty in dull, seemingly lifeless things.  Winter shows what is really there. It shows our frame. The tree does not make the fruit come.  The tree does not worry that the earth will cease rotating around the sun causing winter to be prolonged forever.  The tree just is.  The tree allows the Gardener to prune its branches.  The tree lets its roots go down deep, drinking living water.  The tree puts forth its leaves.  It’s not doing anything extraordinary to bear fruit because it is made to bear fruit. The seasons will change. The fruit will come.

Dad’s Driving Tips for Winter Weather

February 24, 2011 § 1 Comment

If you’re in the Seattle region, you know that we’ve been experiencing more winter weather in the last 24 hours. Last night, I found myself driving home in multiple inches of white on the I-5 from Tacoma to Seattle. Luckily, I wasn’t panicked because my dad did a fabulous job showing this Seattle-raised-snows-once-a-year-girl how to drive in the snow. I thought I’d share some of his tips with you, dear blog readers.

First of all, the first rule is not to panic! People freak out in Seattle at the mere mention of the s-word (snow) and it is one of my biggest pet peeves. Just because the weather states that it might snow is no reason to cancel school, work, or other events. If you are really that desperate for a day off, then perhaps you need a vacation, not a snow day. Sheesh. Now, I know what you’re thinking, “Laura, when it snows I fear that I won’t be able to get home because I don’t know how to drive in the snow and I’ll be stuck for days and will die from lack of food, water, and entertainment!!” Well, simply read on, dear reader.

Rule #1 Be prepared

Always have an emergency bag in your car with necessary supplies that you would need for a night (or a few hours) if you actually do end up stranded. For me, I actually carry two bags. One is my all-purpose all-weather bag that contains a sweatshirt, beach/park blanket, swimsuit, first aid kit, Swiss Army knife, and warm clothes. From my last experience being stranded (see here for the full story), I have found that I’m usually wearing a fairly appropriate coat and shoes. All I really need in addition to these are warm wool socks and a hat, which I keep in my all-purpose bag. The second bag I carry is my doula bag which includes an extra pair of clothes (including fleece jacket and PJs), shoes, toiletries, my phone charger, and energy bars. I also carry 6 bottles of water in a small cooler…just in case. Also, when purchasing a vehicle, consider the possibility that you MAY need to use it in snow at some point. If you aren’t wanting the expense of 4 wheel drive, think about front wheel drive which does exceedingly better than rear wheel drive in snowy/icy conditions. However, just because you HAVE 4 wheel drive doesn’t mean life is hunky-dory. You’ll still need to drive well in snow.

Rule #2 Stay Fueled Up

Don’t let your tank get below 1/4 of a tank…if you think it’s going to snow, just fill up while you can! No one wants to worry about getting gas while trying to make it up a steep hill or waiting in traffic on the 405.

Rule #3 Slow and Steady

You should always keep at least a 3 second distance between the car ahead of you but slick conditions call for even more space.  Make sure you have at least twice the distance you’d normally need to stop or slow down.

Rule #4 Test the road

When appropriate, test the road with braking or fast acceleration to see how much traction you have. This will give you a good idea of how fast to drive and how to handle the road.

Rule #5 Engine Braking

Try to “engine brake” when you can, rather than using your brakes (which can cause skidding of the tires). In manual transmissions, down shift. In automatic cars, shift out of “drive” into “2” or “1”.

Rule #6 Momentum

Don’t stop unless you have to – be safe but rolling stops are generally OK at intersections with no one coming. You will need your momentum to help you get up hills or to stay clear of getting stuck.

Rule #6 Drive outside the lines

Ok, well, sort of. This mainly applies to large freeways and arterial roads. When possible, try to follow the tracks of other cars on the road. It may not be within the lane lines but it will give you better traction.

Rule #8 Turning into the skid

If your car does slide or skid, turn the wheel into the skid to try to regain control. I find that it’s easiest to watch the road and what my car’s doing rather than trying to figure out which way is in the direction of the skid.

Rule #9 The (Usual) Superfluousness of Chains

I always chuckle when I see cars or buses driving on bare roads with the tale-tell sound “chunka-chunka-chunka-chunka” of chains on their rear tires. Chains are good to have for emergencies but you generally won’t need them unless you’re doing some serious mountain pass crossing or conditions are so terrible, you can’t get any traction at all with your tires. I don’t own any nor do I plan to anytime soon.

Rule #10 Learn and practice!

When it snows, go to a large empty parking lot and experiment with how your car handles the snow. Even better, take a well-experienced driver with you to give you some pointers.

Stay safe and stay warm!

Fitness at Home

January 19, 2011 § Leave a comment

I don’t believe in New Years resolutions. In fact, I dislike them so much I made it a point to make some lifestyle changes in December just to prove a point (to whom, I’m not really sure…). However, the point of this is to say that my interest in working out or sharing ideas with you all is not a part of my resolution for the new year. I just want to be healthy and to look and feel good and I’ve found something that works for me. There. I feel better now that I cleared that up.


Working out at home - the early days


Unlike many American families, we refuse to have cable. It’s more related to cost and a lack of desire to sit in front of the TV (affectionately known as the Idol box in our house, since so many Americans worship their TVs). However, we love our Netflix account! $10 versus $30 (or more!) a month?? Yes, please! Most movies we want are available via DVD plus we get unlimited instant watching. This leads me to my whole point of writing this post. On our instant browsing, I found some excellent fitness videos of pilates and dance workouts. I’ve been doing pilates at home for the past month and enjoying it immensely. In fact, I got practice as a young lass as I exercised with my mom to Buns of Steel (and other infamous titles).

I found that I’m much more motivated to workout when I don’t have to travel in the rain to the gym, I don’t have to worry about waiting for a machine, and I’m getting a much more effective workout. If I honest, I don’t make myself work that hard on a treadmill or elliptical. However, having a TV personality encourage me to work hard at a squat or crunch? I’m totally into it! Not to mention, the cost of $10 a month for unlimited classes? Score!

What’s your go-to workout routine?

Photography Favorites II

January 13, 2011 § 4 Comments

Here is the second segment in a series I’m entitling “Photography Favorites.” To be honest, I’m not completely happy with a few of the pictures themselves but I love the ideas they communicate. In case you missed it, the first in this series is here



“As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.” Genesis 8:22


"All the paths of the LORD are lovingkindness and truth to those who keep His covenant and His testimonies" Psalm 25:10


"It was You who set all the boundaries of the earth; You made both summer and winter." Psalm 74:17


"If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing." 1 Corinthians 13:2


"On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night." Psalm 63:6

*Can you tell I’m back on night shift??*


"'Men of Galilee,' they said, 'why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.'" Acts 1:11


"'Return to your house and describe what great things God has done for you.' So he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city what great things Jesus had done for him." Luke 8:39


Photography Favorites

December 14, 2010 § 2 Comments

In the past, I haven’t really considered myself a “creative” person per se. However, I’ve realized over the last little bit that photography has become quite the creative outlet for myself. I’m learning more all the time…in fact, I just read a great blog about aperture at Bakers Dozen, a blog favorite of mine.


This past week had some stressful moments for me…work was challenging, plus there were relationship struggles, I wasn’t feeling that great, and wasn’t sleeping well. This blog is helping me release some emotional energy. Ahhh…I feel better already. I have taken to reading Psalms quite frequently to encourage myself in the Lord. Today, you get a little of both.


Here are a few of my favorites:


"He made the moon for the seasons; The sun knows the place of its setting." Psalm 104:19

"For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city which is to come." Hebrews 13:14

"The heavens proclaim his righteousness, and all the peoples see his glory." Psalm 97:6

"Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law he meditates day and night." Psalm 1:1-2

"You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever." Psalm 16:11

"Then the trees of the forest will sing for joy before the LORD; for He is coming to judge the earth. O give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; for His lovingkindness is everlasting." 1 Chronicles 16:33-34

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." 1 Corinthians 10:31



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