Sunday, December 31, 2006

I was just wondering how long it will take me to remember to write 2007 instead of 2006...

Mercy, I still find myself writing "19..." before I think about it. Then have to change to "20..."

No resolutions. I know better. I know I won't keep 'em anyway.

When you get to be my age, you just enjoy your grandkids, the sunsets, the rainbows, the gentle breezes, a phone call from a friend, an email from one of my kids, a good cup of coffee, a hug from my wonderful hubby... and chocolate whenever I want it.

I'm married to Dave. Since life has never been boring with him, I wonder what this year holds in store!

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 29, 2006

Christmas 2006

Who needs mistletoe?

Just sharing a couple of family photos from Christmas.
I know you have been wondering if I'd ever post about our day. :-)

Susan and Ben had a total of 20 people for Christmas dinner. Everyone brought something to eat, and eat we did. Oink.

We had a really cool time of sharing our about our most memorable Christmas traditions when we were kids. It probably won't surprise any readers that everybody mentioned the importance of family getting together. That was really the hard part of Christmas for me...not having the whole family with us.

Christmas = Jesus. But next comes Family / Friends / Food / Fellowship / Football (if you can get it on TV!) / Fatigue (time for a happy nap!).

Aren't traditions comfy, though?

Ben, Susan, Kayla, Levi, Trinity

Levi lovin' it!

Trinity tearing in!

Kayla likes this gift!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Nativity

Among our usual Christmas Eve traditions is the reenactment of the First Christmas by the children who are present. They find appropriate costuming on short notice and present The Story in their own way.

Kayla was the announcing angel this year.

Levi chose to be a wiseman; his gift was a souvenier basket we bought in Rwanda.

Trinity was Mary; her rag doll was Baby Jesus.

They sang a few songs for us: Away in a Manger, Five Little Fingers, Little Baby Jesus Cradled in the Hay, Come On Ring Those Bells! and Happy Birthday to Jesus.

It's alway a highlight of Christmas Eve at our house.

(FYI: That's not an ordinary sticker on Trinity's forehead. She fell out of bed and got a pretty nasty cut--being held together at this point by tape that takes the place of stitches...and a pretty Strawberry Shortcake bandaid over the top.)

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Summer Santa

Ho ho ho just isn’t the same in Swaziland.

It’s summer. It’s hot.

And here is our local grocery store Santa, posing at the meat counter.

He knows how to keep cool when he's not surfing. Just unbutton the jacket, roll up the pantlegs and stand on the cooler!

Christmas Greetings!

"Glory to God in the highest and on earth, peace..."

For Christmas, may the Lord give you peace that passes all understanding.

For the new year, 2007, may He bless you and your loved ones with joy unspeakable, and full of glory.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Changara Family

Just had some of the nicest people in the world come to Swaziland for a visit:
Dixon, Chipo, Faith (13), and Tanashe (9) Changara, from Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.

Our (takes-after-my-mother) daughter fed all of us every night...yummy food (thanks, Sooze!), and we enjoyed fantastic fellowship.

We have adopted them into our family. They are now (un)officially Ohlerkings.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


How is it one careless match can start a forest fire, but it takes a whole box of matches to start a campfire?

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Good Advice

Live in such a way that those who know you but don't know God will come to know God because they know you.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Whoa, Hail!

Man alive. You've never seen anything like it before. Well, at least I never have.

The day had been so pleasant. The grands and I had played a little soft ball (well, practiced some hitting) and had ever such a good time.

But within a few minutes of fun outdoor play, this storm blows up. Kayla, Levi, Trinity, and I were looking our my bedroom windows toward the backyard, watching the horrific wind stirring the trees. If this had been in Iowa, we'd have been ducking for cover. The sky was blackish-green. In the midwest this is a sign of tornadoes! But here in Swaziland, we've only heard of one tornado in its history. So we weren't concerned about a tornado.

Suddenly, five or six huge (softball sized) white things come slamming into the yard. My first thought was they were blossoms from a nearby tree, then I realized blossoms would flutter, not slam. As we were contemplating whether they were hail stones that size, the next batch came. Then the next. And for 20-30 minutes we were battered and beat with hail stones ranging in size from golfball to baseball. Crashing onto the roof and smashing into a zillion little ice chunks. Destroying everything in its path.

Leaving the gutters full of holes. The vehicle we have been driving with a broken (completely shattered) back window, cracked and near-to-broken windshield. Huge pock marks all over the top, hood, and sides. Some hail even taking the paint off.

The kids were somewhere between awe and excitement and terror. (The excitement won.) It was LOUD. There was a lot of lightning further up the mountain (from the later reports we heard) and 30 goats on the hillside were killed by a strike. Newspaper said five people were killed. Multiple homes totally destroyed. Thousands of cars ruined. Windshields broken.

I'm sure there are dazed cows everywhere--still wondering what happened.

And some of the newspaper photos of uprooted trees makes me wonder if there hadn't actually been a tornado touch down...

Ben and Susan's fibreglass veranda roof is full of baseball-sized holes. Their gutters are like sieves.

Kayla said it reminded her of the Egyptian's plague. Right on. I'd never imagined that particular plague as such a nasty thing.

Now I know.

(I let Kayla go outside and collect this golfball sized stone after we knew for sure the storm was over.)

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The 2006 Children's Cup CarePoint Christmas Party!

There were 2500 to 3000 kids (who can get an accurate count when they are running around hollering and laughing and playing!) gathered for our 2006 CarePoint Christmas party. Inflatable jumping things and tug-of-war games and painted faces and sack races made the day such fun!
It was SO hot that Charles and Pat got a loooong hose, turned on the water and played like a fountain for the kids to get cooled off in the drizzle.
The entertainment was precious. Each CarePoint had their own presentation of scriptures or carols or skits. Each one centered on Jesus, whose birthday we were celebrating. The main skit, presented by the Dynamite Kids (a special group who are learning servanthood), acted out the nativity. Well done!

Cute thing was the pregnant Mary: Her costume consisted of a bit of cloth for a "robe" draped over a huge beach ball!

Special speaker was a 13-year-old evangelist who laid out the plan of salvation as clear as you can have it. "I cannot see inside your heart," he said. "But God can. And you know what's there. God is wanting to clean it all up. He's waiting for you to ask Him to come in."

The food was fabulous. Fried chicken, rice, gravy, salads, and ice cream for dessert. Who could ask for more? This picture gives the "bucket of chicken" order at KFC a whole new meaning...

One little 11-year-old girl touched our hearts. She's dying of AIDS--and looks like she's only six. Someone went to the trouble to see to it she could be there. Although she couldn't participate in the running and jumping and racing, she took everything in with her eyes. She was delighted to be amid all the fun and games and excitement. Last I saw her, one of our dear ladies was carrying her in her arms, up the hill...

Thanks, everyone who prayed, gave, encouraged and prepared. It was a time the kids will never forget.