Monday, January 30, 2006

1st Anuual Church Picnic

January 26th was Indian Republic Day AND our church's 1st church picnic. We went to a beach near a river and had a great day. Since it's been forever since I've posted pix I thought you might enjoy these.

Lots and lots of cricket

Little ones punked out...
Moms hid in the shade
Oh the joy of swimming naked...

We played lots of other fun games and shared a wonderful lunch, but I was too busy playing and eating to take pictures silly.

Drug Induced Sleep

I've had a reoccurance or relapse or re-something of what I had a couple months ago when I was so sick. I've been feeling fine but the Doctor seems to be treating me "aggressively" this time. That means that 1 of the 5 pills I'm taking every day seems to knock me out for about 3 hours every afternoon. Flat on the bed, asleep, no movement.

Needless to say, lots of work not getting done. And I have a ton on my plate right now with my English course, our upcoming newsletter and my book, not to mention the daily duties of children, home and husband yada yada yada.

Oh well, just 3 more days of meds to go...

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Wednesday Already

What am I doing? It's Wednesday?

Let's see what this week looked like. Oh yeah, I had Chortie over the weekend. She latched on to me and I was on baby duty - that's it. Baby duty.

We took 24 kids to the fair on Sunday night. It was a mob scene, but we thankfully we came home with 24 happy kids, so I guess we were sucessful. I'm not claiming they were all ours ...

Chortie, her dad, me and C. went to the hospital for a check up on her arm Monday. The medical files were supposed to be there, they weren't. Someone picked them up last week. Start search for medical file. Find them. Chortie goes into the doctor's office. Screams and screams some more. The Doctor says she'll need to be sedated (she needed to have a procedure to remove a wire sticking out from her tiny elbow. She broke it over 2 months ago and had surgery in November.) Bring Chortie home with the instructions that she needs to fast. Yes, not eat for 4 hours - over lunch. We're talking about an 18 month old here - who barely at breakfast.

Chortie screams all afternoon because she's hungry. I'm sure she'd lost all faith in adults by this point considering her dad and I had to hold her down in the morning while they took x-rays of her sore little arm - THEN I refused to feed her.

I had my English class at 3:30 so I sent Chortie with the Christy, woman who runs our Children's Home, and her dad for the 3 PM appointment. Good move on my part since Chrortie got admitted in the hospital over night. She now goes for phys. therapy 3 days a week.

Uhhh, birthday party Monday night. Office work yesterday and I was informed by my husband that we need to get a newsletter out and it take priority over everything else. Including the month end tests for our Bible students. (I have to prepare them and make the test like - today.)

Last night our ladies ministry went visiting in a city nearby, we left at 5:30PM and got home at 10:30PM. Comforted a crying C. who was left behind.

Today, still trying to do the Bible College work for me and O., as well as work on the newsletter, but before all that - tomorrow is India's Republic Day. E. is in a program at her school at 7:30 AM, O. & I are in programs at the big school at 7:30 AM and then at 9AM we're supposed to leave for a church picnic.

Ha! I don't think so.

I'm working on getting as much done today as I can...

Sunday, January 22, 2006

The Twilight Labyrinth

I guess that most people have their little areas of interest. Civil War, Quilting, Movie Star Gossip, Stock Market, Computers, Star Wars... just some examples from off the top of my head.

When you look at these peoples' bookshelves it's not unusual to find books on these topics or on whatever floats their boats. The favored topic books will often be in the minority, sure, but there probably will be a small line of well read and muchly enjoyed books on one or two (generally related) topics of the readers interest.

I think we all have something that just lights our fires.

Here's a hint to mine. The title of this entry is the title of a book I finished reading this afternoon. The subtitle reads, "Why Does Spiritual Darkness Linger Where It Does?"

Spiritual warfare, that's what does it for me. I have other interests, but the non-fiction books I devour are almost exclusively on the topic of the spiritual realm.

I found this book, written by George Otis Jr., in the notes of another book on this topic that I read several years ago. I asked for this one for Christmas and, as you know by now, mom came through.

Did I like it? Oh yeah. The author spent 7 years (or something) researching for it and there are almost as many notes* at the back of the book as there is info in the chapters.

This book is NOT for the faint of heart and it's not something that I would recommend to a broad audience of people. However, if you're at all like me and passages of scripture like Ephesians 6:12ff are NOT abstract and ARE something that you can wrap your head around, you might want to read this book.

Well researched and presented in a logical order, The Twilight Labyrinth reads like a novel and informs like a textbook.

I'll be absorbing what I've read over the next few days and weeks and I wouldn't be surprised to see future posts on the topic. For now, The Twilight Labyrinth will join it's small but select group of companions on my bookshelf.

*I love notes. Sometimes I just read them on their own.

Newest Addition


That's how many kids I'm up to nowadays. Kids that live with me, that is. I got "Chortie" today. She's an almost 2 year old sweetie who lives in our children's home who has temporarily been transfered to my house.

I should stick to older kids. I have a soft spot for little ones and I was just letting her bang on my keyboard - while I was typing. Some things are just not done. My other kids get their lives threatened for less than that.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Land Owners

O. got back from Bombay yesterday afternoon after a whirlwind trip and just like that we got land. It's not all paid for yet but, you know, we're part of the way there.

Someone wrote and said today, "Congratulations, you're land owners." And I thought, oh yeah, we are.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

If You Don't Laugh

I was in a meeting today with O. and some other co-workers and they mentioned that the septic tank in the Bible College dorm was full and the downstairs toilet (Indian style) was overflowing. One co-worker kept repeating, "We just had it cleaned out 20 days ago. It should take at least 6 months to fill up again."

Before this meeting we had just finished another meeting about the Bible College with the cook and the "warden" (the man in charge of all the Bible Students). One of the things we talked about was making less food. The 15 (all male) students were eating up a storm.

That conversation combined with the "It should take at least 6 months to fill up again..." comments started me (and I wasn't alone) giggling. O. was saying, "This is serious. I have a lot of tension. What will we do about this? Where will we get the money to keep fixing it..."

I said, "Baby, if you can't laugh about it, you may as well just cry."

Monday, January 16, 2006

Down But So Not Out

I’ve just finished reading “Self-Editing for Fiction Writers” by Browne and King. It’s one of the books I started on my trip to O.’s village a few months back.

I definitely gleaned some good advice from it and I typed it all out for me to refer to as I re-edit (or self-edit, again) my manuscript*.

Working on making my book better (and hopefully getting it into publishing shape) is one of my goals for 2006. Or, as I put it in a previous entry, something I want to get done and January is as good a time as any to start.

This is a priority for me and my free time that is generally spent in reading is being redirected to reading and editing my manuscript. There’s A LOT to be done.

Here is my list (in my own words) of what I need to look out for…

Things to look out for in my writing:

o Tell the story thru dialogue instead of narration

o Characters – just give a few descriptions at first. Character personalities should emerge from – actions, reactions, interior monologue (thinking to themselves) and dialogue

o Don’t describe emotions or anything else that you’ve already shown in some other way (like thru dialogue)

o Let the readers use their imagination, don’t describe each and every step

o Let the dialogue convey emotion. RESIST THE URGE TO EXPLAIN (RUE).

o Use “said” instead of “ly” adverbs. Put name first “Dave said…”

o Be consistent in how people are referred to, esp in their dialogue

o Read everything out loud to see how it sounds to the ear

o Use just a little interior monologue (Character’s thoughts to themselves in the midst of a dialogue sequences) You don’t need, “he thought”, “she wondered” all that often.

o Avoid italics

o Use “beats” bits of actions interspersed thru a scene – physical gestures described. These give readers enuf details to jumpstart their imagination. But not too much.

o Break up long paragraphs. People like to see white on the page.

o Watch out for repetition of words or ideas. Don’t tell what you’ve shown.

o Make the bad guys relatable to the reader. Give them some good points or weaknesses. Don’t make them thoroughly evil.

o Avoid starting sentences with “ing” or “As she…” Use only 1 or 2 of these per page.

o Root out “ly” adverbs. Use verbs that are powerful enuf to convey their own action.

o Use commas to string together short dialogue sentences, this emulates actual speech.

o Avoid flowery phrases and descriptions.

o Read Characters dialogue in succession to hear their voice and see if they are consistent.

That was fascinating to no one except somebody who may also be self-editing.

*I wrote a manuscript for a historical fiction novel. I spent last spring and summer trying to get it published and it obviously didn’t happen. I’m now on round 2.

Friday, January 13, 2006


Here's something that has been on my mind for a while. Our house.

We've lived in 4 different rented houses in the 6 years since our marriage and we were informed last month that we need to move out of this house in the next 2 months. O. and I sought the Lord and it was clear to us (and everyone else) that we NEED our own house - one that we won't get kicked out of.

We started to look into purchasing a home and it quickly became evident that the way to go is to buy land and build. The man who is building our school (also a good friend of O.'s) is building a house on a plot right behind where we used to live. There were 2 plots open there and so O. is going with the builder on Monday to Bombay to put down some money and secure them in our name.

We love the location and since it's right behind where we used to live, all our old friends are there. It's also smack dab in the middle of all our different ministries (children's home, church, schools, offices...).

It's exciting to know we're going to have our own land at last. God miraculously provided the money for an initial down-payment through 3 separate families/churches, so we're trusting Him that He's going to stay with us on this til the end.

My biggest tension in the whole matter (at this point) is where we will live in the interim. I hate moving, not to mention it's expensive. Then to have to do it twice in under a year or less. Arg! I'm just praying we can stay in this house until we can move for the final time to our own home. I hope it's soon. I'm sure to keep you updated.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Mom Comes Through

Mom informed me via email today that she's picking up "Dance of Death" ( see post: "Eragon") for me and I asked her to get "Eldest" too while she's at it. Hee hee.

Hey, that's what moms are for.

Thank you, mom!


I'm in the mood to write today. Not much to tell but my alternative to writing on here is reading grammar books. Yep. My English Conversational Class that I teach in the Bible College 3 days a week just got grammar.

Actually, it is a bit of an exciting day. We officially started teaching our Bible students using the BTCP* curriculum. Up til now they were learning English, computers, music and some other courses, but their real studying, the good Bible stuff** started from today.

We had a nice time this afternoon that ended with lots of prayer and then chai and samosas. (Just in case you forgot that this is India.)

Part of the new curriculum is a combined English class of Conversational and Grammar. Both on me. So, I'm revising what I'll be teaching for the next few months. I still haven't come across a satisfactory textbook, so I'm continuing to "wing it." Yeah.

I did get my hands on some grammar books today, so I need to go through them and incorporate.

Well, I just pray over it and we'll see what we get. I figure it will take three years or so of teaching the same stuff to get a set curriculum.

I teach Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, so tomorrow is my first class. I think we'll mostly review since there's been a month's hiatus. If we can zip through that we'll work on "How much" and "How many" tomorrow.

* BTCP = Bible Training Centre for Pastors (Google it if interested in info on it or visit:

**BTCP courses being taught this semester: Bible Study Methods/Interpretation, Old Testament Survey, New Testament Survey, Preaching Biblical Messages and Pastoral Ministry, Biblical Doctrine Survey. (Additional classes: Computers, English & Music - Guitar, Congo, Tabla - drum)

Monday, January 09, 2006


Fantasy IS my very favorite genre. I love reading and will read just about anything, including shampoo bottles. However, given a choice, I'd rather spend my free time immersed in the world of exotic imaginary beasts and peoples and histories and languages... than anywhere else.

The novel by Christopher Paolini, Eragon, had been on my reading list for quite some time before I actually got my hands on a copy as a Christmas gift from mom and dad. A friend, E., actually recommended it to me, not knowing that it was already on my Amazon "wish list." If I recall correctly, she referred to it as a good read if not a piece of "great literature." I can agree with that.

However, the book had depth and maturity and creativity that I certainly never expected, especially as I read the first few chapters and it seemed pretty evident that Paolini was heavily influenced by the likes of Tolkien and George Lucas. He eventually grew into his own.

I think the thing I liked the most about the novel was it's pace and imagery. I also liked the relationship between Eragon and Saphira, his dragon. It was lovely.

I've already looked on Amazon to order the second book, "Eldest." Before I can do that I have to think about making an order over $25 to get the free shipping, so then I have see other books I really really want at this time. This then holds me back from ordering. The only other book I've been waiting for forever to come out in paperback is "Dance of Death" by Preston & Child (my very favorite writing duo). It's out, but did my mom get it for me or not? I don't know. Questions. Just have to wait and see.

I'm good at that. Waiting. Instant gratification is something I've learned to live without. I'll wait.

Weekend Guests

We've had two days of nice guests through our home. We always have guests, especially on the weekends, it's rare when we don't, but these guests were just more enjoyable than usual. One actually, wasn't a guest, he was a representative of the BTCP which is the curriculum we use in our Bible College. He was in town foR another conference and had a few hours to spare for us to go over the material as well as encourage us. It was an unexpected pleasure.

The other guests were a family who had visited before when I was in the US, so this was the first time for me to meet them. The father, a pastor, spoke in church today. I was truly blessed.

When I said to them as they left, "You're welcome any time." I truly meant it.

Friday, January 06, 2006

# 100 Or The One Where I Risked My Life

This is my hundredth post. I've been excited about writing #100 since #91 or so. I do wish it were a more interesting/poignant/serious/meaningful one, but it's not.

Who'd have thought (not me) that I'd be writing about risking my life on an amusement ride at a fair in town for the big 1-0-0? That's just it, the entries just come to me and I think to myself - I gotta write about this and that's that. I don't always get around to writing everything I want to, not hardly, but I do my best. Many a good entry has been lost due to lack of writing time. If I'd written everything I've ever thought to write on here I'd have past #100 long ago and maybe a more exciting post it would have been...

I suppose we'll never ever know.

Anyway, I got home at 7PM after a long day of meetings and visiting and this and that, and 5 minutes later someone pops in our door and says O. wants us to come to a fair in town.

I slapped some fresh clothes on the 3 little ones in my house and was out the door minutes later.

O. and several other guys on our leadership team had gone to a local garden to pray and right next to it was the fair. They all decided to go after prayer and it really was a very nice fair, lots of shops and games and rides.

Four of us wanted to go on one of those rides that has 2 cars that go around in vertical circles. When one is up the other is down. You know the kind where you rock rock rock and then go all the way over so you're hanging upsidedown?

I'm not afraid of rides, just afraid of Indian built ones. So I was somewhat nervous when the shoulder restraints came down and mine was pretty loose. I was more apprehensive when the ride-guy takes some kind of strappy thing and wraps it around Anoop's (who was next to me) restraint and ties that to the metal structure - then DOESN'T do the same for me. Hello? Loose restraint! I want a strappy thing too!

I am not kidding you, my restraint could be pushed at least 10 inches out from my body. That's Almost A Foot! In the US those things are so tight that if you at all fat they don't even click down on your tummy.

I'm an optimist. I figure I'll be fine.

Not Fine. Not at all fine.

We started up and I'm telling you, if I wasn't holding on, I would have fallen out. It was that loose.

Anyway, it was still fun. Next time I'll bring my own strappy thing and tie myself in.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Samson And Smita

Remember the engagement ceremony a few weeks ago when the girl wore the borrowed saree, etc etc… well, their marriage was yesterday. (I’m not even going to go into the whole bride’s side of the family not-doing-anything-to-get-ready-for-the-wedding fiasco. I’m just going to stick to the ceremony.)

Church was first from 9-10AM and the bride was supposed to show up at 10AM for the marriage ceremony.

Our abbreviated church service ended with communion and I went back to my front row seat. (We held the ceremony in a tent outside our church because we needed the room.)

In India the groom walks in first with his friends surrounding him. He walks down the aisle and to the front much like the bride does in American weddings. Fathers walk in neither the bride nor the groom here.

As I watched the groom walk in with his “best man” at his side and a couple other guys following I got all choked up and started to cry. YES, I am a wedding weeper. What is it about weddings that makes us cry? Well, these two boys, the groom* and best man*, were both in the orphanage where I worked for 8 months in 1998-1999 (where I met O.) Seeing them standing there on the little stage holding hands, waiting for the bride, well, it just got me right here (patting chest and sniffing.) Cause of tears possibly also brought on by the Really Bad rendition of “How Great Thou Art” being sung in Hindi as the groom walked down the aisle.

At this point, O. calls for everyone to stand up because the bride is going to walk in (also with her friends surrounding her.) Everyone stands and looks to the back… and looks and looks and looks – bad singing continuing on and on and on. And suddenly a man appears at the far end of the aisle and gestures wildly: no, no, no.

I look around from my seat in the front row and figure I should do something since everyone else who could go figure this out were deeply involved with the bad singing. Plastering a smile on my face I quickly make my way down the aisle, taking care to avoid the eyes of the 150 or so guests and spectators.

I finally reach the open air and discover that the bride has not yet arrived. Oh.

Back up the aisle, smiling, not looking at anyone…feeling much like the maid of honor in Spiderman 2. However, I bypassed the groom and just whispered in the pastor’s ear that The Bride Had Not Yet Come.

And Hindi “How Great Thou Art” droned on and on.

Miraculously, the bride actually arrived before they finished the last verse. I was back there waiting for her with a bunch of other girls. I walked in behind her up the aisle and shuffled back over to my seat when we hit the front row. She and just her maid of honor continued on up to the platform.

To my recollection, the rest of the wedding went on without a hitch. Ummm, I’m not really sure about that tho since my seat was in a direct line of sunlight and by the time everything ended and I ate lunch, I was feeling sincerely dizzy. I caught the first car home and slept for 2 hours.

Here’s a funny epilogue. When I awoke later that afternoon the groom and his entire family were at my house. O. later told me that after the ceremony the bride and groom went to the hotel we booked for them. Within a half an hour the groom’s entire family (I’m talking like 15 people) showed up at their door.

O. took mercy on the poor groom and sent his family back to their homes straight away that evening.

*For anyone who was with me in 1998-99: Groom – Shyam Sundar (a.k.a. Samson). Best man: Prabhu Lal (Bride was Smita who goes to our church)

Monday, January 02, 2006

A Flashback To Chrismas

This is my favorite Christmas Card from this Christmas. Someone sent it to us last week and it is so VERY Indian. I mean, just look at Mary.

This was made by "The Leprosy Mission" according to the back of the card. Nice.

"The Babe" by V. S. Masoji
* You may or may not have noticed that little baby Jesus is missing his pants...

Happy 2006!

Since I didn't get to bed til 2AM and then I was up early for church and a wedding today, I'm not real fresh to write, but I wanted to get something up here.

I'll write more about the wedding later, hopefully tomorrow. It's one of those things that definitely falls into "all the little details"...

As far as a new year being here, I'm thankful that it's not one of those things that bums me out. So totally unlike a birthday (whew - I don't have to worry about that til the end of Sept - a long long long time away...). A new year just means that I need to get used to writing 2006 instead of 2005, that's about it for me.

I'm not a resolution person, so I don't have that hanging over me. I'm more goal oriented, like, I'd like to accomplish _____ and January is a good time to start, kind of person. It's so much easier to deal with since, you know, there's a beginning, middle and an end. Unlike, for example, losing weight... it never ever ends. Why even bother with resolutions like that?