Monday, September 30, 2013


Bizoo is kind of an awesome word, huh?  Some Amharic words express something so perfectly I am mixing them with English. Bizoo loosely means "a lot".

So, I have a bizoo things to post on now that our internet is back. You will have to wait for it though, piece by piece because my family needs to eat tonight and I have BSF. :)

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 We had the privilege of visiting S*. She is the daughter of some dear friends in our home area and their adoption process has hit some unexpected delays. It was such a delight to visit her although the whole time, our hearts ached for S and her Daddy and Mama in this difficult limbo time of waiting. 

We continue to learn Fidel (Amharic alphabet) in language school. It's surprisingly fun and super challenging. It feels like I am back in kindergarten, learning new sounds and symbols. Counting diphthongs, there are 264 characters. 


We have new teachers as of today but Jon and I are still split up. I think it would be fun to be in the same class. Jon feels like he can't say it, but is glad we are in separate classes. ;)

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Here's The Littles with our neighbor girls, all being flexible and sitting on a broken carousel horse. 

Happy Monday!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

In The Parade

"Whoa, look at all the flags!" Jon exclaimed. "I wonder what's going on."

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Jokingly, I suggested, "Maybe it's flag day!"

We stopped and picked up an Ethiopian friend and asked, "Why all the flags?" "Oh, it's flag day!" she responded.

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About then, we realized the reason traffic was crawling was because we were in a parade.

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And because traffic is tight and people here are so friendly, this man leaned over and gave me a flag. So we waved along with pride to be part of such a beautiful place.

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We are coming into Meskel (A holiday, "The finding of the true cross) and so the flags and festivities have only increased. It's kind of great, we have American holidays and Ethiopian holidays, Orthodox and Muslim alike. :) Yay for traditions!




Sunday, September 22, 2013

Bits and Pieces

Here is a bit of a phone dump, some have been seen on Instagram (follow at jonyamy) some on Facebook and a few others are new to the social media world...

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1) A mattress laden truck 

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2) One strawberry juice and two straws

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3) Care package arrived! Christmas in September!

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4) One well used merry-go-round

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5) Love the weekends, no language school and lots of time to snuggle

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6) Bright weekends markets

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7) The worst kind of taxi rides…where the passenger has to get out and push...

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8) Little J meets Tweety. Oh, the random places we drag our children. 

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9) Smores, expat style. Care package marshmallows, homemade graham crackers, nutella and random roasting utensils...

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10) And great neighbors with fireplaces.



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11) Enjoying a fun day at a "Hope For the Fatherless" event.

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12) The Littles were concerned that Daddio didn't have an umbrella and offered to share.

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13) Eating dinner by headlamp and candlelight. 


Happy Monday!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Blooming Where You're Planted

"Jon, slow down!" Our van crawled by as I stared in amazed wonder. 

To the right, there is a picture of a tarp house, constructed on the sidewalk. I have seen at least five family members there. Another tarp house, not so uncommon.

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But look to the left. It's hard to see, but those bright yellow containers, are filled with houseplants and a cute little puppy dog is tied up and playing amidst the garden this woman has created on her stretch of street.

As I studied the scene, I realized that in the midst of the ugly, this space has been made lovely. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Overcoming Fear

Turtle fear to be more specific. After extensive discussion with The Littles on how UNscary turtles truly are complete with object lessons on their unfathomably slow pace, I still couldn't convince them to go near them.

All it took was a bit of positive peer pressure...

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And they are ready for rodeo.

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Fun giant turtle fact,

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They are amazingly strong and move even with a child on their back.

Whew. Glad the yard is safe again. 


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Studying Matthew

It's no secret, I love BSF. Imagine my delight when my registration moved from the Midwest to the women's group in Ethiopia!  As long as we are in Addis Ababa, I am in BSF. Woohoo!

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There are five nationalities in my group and as we study together, it is more difficult than studying with a group of women almost all from one country, but being united by the Spirit, we are blessed to gain from other's perspectives. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Happy 2006!

There has been a death in my hometown and our hearts groan for Lance's family and friends. We are in prayer for you.


September 11th in Ethiopia marks the New Year. (For more info, click here) Ethiopia follows a thirteen month calendar and so with the start of the New Year, we said, "Happy 2006!" and went to bed way before midnight. In general, Ethiopia is considered what is called a "warm climate culture" and is "eastern" in thought. America interacts as a "cold climate culture" and is western in thought. That being said, overall, the culture is highly relation and events are greatly anticipated and celebrated without adhering to a time schedule that drives western culture. While I am doing good in the USA to make it up till midnight to say happy New Year on our January 1st, here, the festivities last all night as the new year is marked at 6:00 am on the first day of the year. 

We joined with our neighbor families for our day off and laughed at our delightfully sad attempts at celebrating an Ethiopian holiday traditionally.

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Madison read to the Littles in the morning as she didn't have school and we didn't either! The Littles dressed for the festivities in their Mexican dresses. :)

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We walked to a park with the Florek fam and found out it was closed...

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Before anyone was too deflated, we suggested ice-cream and all sadness washed away. 

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 The Littles were invited over to paint pet rocks with a cool type of rock that floats.

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The Littles did their first "donkey barrel racing"

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And we ate foods that didn't mesh well together but were green, red and yellow. :) And strangely enough, it had this cozy family feel.

Thursday we celebrated with our friends who were fasting on Wednesday.

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The Littles napped at home during our first invite, we decided too much doro wet in one day might set their stomachs on edge.

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We were so delighted to spend time with some neighbors and blessed by their hospitality. However, after round one, Jon and I both felt the effects of the spice. We had a few short hours to recover before dinner. Jon made a nice recovery and…well…I did not. God gave me the grace to go and spend some time with some lovely friends, but needless to say, I was not taking pictures or doing anything beside keeping the Littles' dirty hands off the furniture and praying my stomach could hold strong. 

I have high hopes for 2006. 


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Unsurpassable Worth

Today is New Year's Day in Ethiopia!  We begin 2006 this morning. Today we celebrate with expatriates. Tomorrow with Ethiopians. Because it is a fasting day for Orthodox, they will celebrate tomorrow. Jon and I have no class today but will have it tomorrow as apparently, our school doesn't follow the Orthodox schedule. :)


While blogging last week, I was hit with about two tons of conviction from the Spirit. Gulp. Literally, as I typed the post about the people I pass on a regular basis, I was surprised to look at it from a reporter's viewpoint and chastised to realize I was walking by people with no regard for them, human beings, in need and I made certain to walk a large circumference around them, eyes straight forward.

The Littles love the story of The Good Samaritan and ask to hear it. I am telling a story, teaching lessons, that I do not live. 

As I reflected on it over the next several days, I realized a few things.

1) I was acting like I didn't see these people. Now to analyze the "why"…

2) It seems like if I see them, connect with them, they are going to want something from me.

3) All of the needs overwhelm me and I can't help everyone, discerning who to help is exhausting. 

4) To cope with not being able to help everyone, I blocked them out, didn't dwell on thoughts of it, ignored people as I walked by.

5) That's not the way my Lord Jesus loves or calls me to love. He has created them, each individual with unsurpassable worth.

After some prayer, tears and talking with Jon, we have intentionally decided to get involved with several people who live close to us. We aren't talking about throwing money to them as we pass by but a "get-on-your-level, what-is-your-name, can-I-sit-with-you" relationship. Though we feel limited by language and cultural ineptness, it is not an excuse to turn our heads and walk on by.

I still can't catch his name but he was a soldier. He has a family but is mentally unstable and now lives here, under his tarps and umbrella.

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This could get messy because relationships are rarely as convenient as a money drop. We don't have the answers on how to navigate these tricky waters of poverty and so we continue to pray for wisdom and grace. Praying God is the only thing seen in us.



Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A Nation's Pastime

It's electric. I wish you could be here when the Ethiopian soccer team plays.

We were visiting a home for coffee and caught a bit of the game on their tv. You don't need to watch though. When a goal is scored for either team (they were playing Somalia) you can tell. If Ethiopia scores, there is a loud roar of joy from every house and from every corner of the community. If the opposing team scores, the sound is less loud but decidedly grumpy. 

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The Littles did less chatting and watching and more stuffing their faces. They are both using their right hands! Victory is ours!

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This little guy does not think I look like a lion, he loves me! I rate second to Jon in his book though. :)

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The Littles hung outside with the neighborhood kids, "helping" do wash. 


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Walking home with clean feet.

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There were some workers making tables and chairs for the next door school and Jon finished the game with them as they worked slowly and strained to hear their radio transmitter. 

We won!



Sunday, September 8, 2013


November of last year, we were in North Carolina at a two week training. You can read more about that and the friends The Littles made here.

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One of our favorite parts of SIMGo was the friendships made. We spent significant time with the Florek family, namely because they are so great and also because our kids hit it off and we delightedly made plans for ourselves when we all lived in Ethiopia.  

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Charlotte convinced the girls to try injera for the first time. 

Look who landed Saturday, fresh off the plane. Reunited at last.

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And for the really amazing part, we live in a 3 unit apartment building. We have our amazing neighbors I have previously introduced beside us and in this giant of a city, guess who fills the bottom apartment? Yep, our God is so gracious! For the next eight weeks, while the Florek family does a fast track language course, we are going to enjoy the company! 

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