Christmas Carol Party Game · 5 days ago

Being somewhat of a creative English language usage nut I have been looking up games for some Christmas gatherings we are going to have here with friends. I found this really fun “name that tune” game….try it out.

Translate the Christmas Carols


Example: Soundless Nocturnal Timespan (answer: Silent Night)

1. Move Hitherward the Entire Assembly of Those Who are Loyal In Their Belief.

2. Ornament the Enclosure with Large Sprigs of a Berry-Bearing Evergreen.

3. Vertically-Challenged Adolescent Percussionist.

4.First Person (Singular) Experiencing an Hallucinatory Phenomenon of a Natal Celebration Devoid of Color.

5. Majestic Triplet (First Person Plural).

6 The Yuletide Occurence Preceding All Others.

7.Precious Metal Musical Devices.

8.Omnipotent Supreme Being Elicits Respite to Ecstatic Distinguished Males.

9.Caribou Afflicted with Vermillion Olfactory Appendage.

10.Allow Crystalline Formation to Descend.

11.Jovial Yuletide Desired for the Second Person (Singular or Plural).

12.Commence Auditory Reception, the Celestial Messengers Produce Harmonious Sounds.

Check out more at the above listed website! Blessings on your holiday plans!

— Beth Symanzik



Typhoon · 12 days ago

While the middle and upper part of the Philippines are being hit by a massive typhoon as I type this, we sit here in Davao with sun, calm winds, low humidity.

typhoons usually hit the middle and northern part of the Philippines. We are in Davao in the southern part, to close to
the equator for typhoons to hit.


Typhoon Ruby (international name Hagupit) is slowly making its way across the central Philippines, moving west-northwest at 15 kilometers per hour, weather service PAGASA said Sunday morning.

In a 5 a.m. update, PAGASA located Ruby 40 kms northwest of Catbalogan, Samar.

At the rate it was moving, the typhoon was projected to make a second landfall over Masbate at about 10 a.m., bringing with it the danger of a storm surge of up to 3 meters.

Ruby had weakened slightly, and now has 160 kph sustained winds and gusts of up to 195 kph.

Nevertheless, PAGASA warned that Ruby was still dangerous as it was still a typhoon category cyclone.

Also, estimated rainfall within Ruby’s 500 km diameter was from 10 – 30 mm per hour (heavy – torrential).

Ruby, as well as the northeast monsoon, will bring rough to very rough seas over the seaboards of Luzon and the Visayas; and over the northern seaboard of Mindanao. Small seacraft are warned agaisnt sailing over these seaboards.

— Beth Symanzik



Dolphins · 20 days ago

Yesterday, while on a boat trip in Davao bay, we saw a pod of dolphins. A couple of them came and swam right along side the boat. It was so cool. God’s creations are awesome.

One of the boat crewmen had us clap and as we did the dolphins swam next to the boat keeping up with the boat’s speed. When we stopped clapping they’d go away a bit. This went on for a few minutes and then they all swam off.

While I’ve seen dolphins in the bay before, this was a first to have them swim along side the boat. So cool.

— Beth Symanzik



Eight Years · 27 days ago

Eight Years

“Emotionally healthy spirituality requires you to go through the pain of the Wall – or, as the ancients called it, “the dark night of the soul” p 117 Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, Pete Scazzero.

I sit here on the morning of the 8th year anniversary of being here in the Philippines and I wonder if the journey has been worth it.

And, not to keep you in suspense, yes, it has been worth it.

It’s been a hard 8 years. There is no turning back the hands of time. We made our decisions, buggered on through really tough times, and here we are. Stronger, wiser, more sobered, more in love with Christ than ever before.

Seasons happen to us. I’ve been through a long season of winter. I feel tired, worn out, yet deeply centered in the love of Christ. A solemness has settled – not a despairing, but a soberness.

Sober. 1. quiet, serious, solemn, grave or sedate 2. characterized by reason, sanity or self-control; showing mental and emotional balance. (Webster’s New World Dictionary)

Hope springs eternal and there is hope. Spring follows winter, hope swells anew. I am reminded “be sober, be alert” – the new testament exhorts that at least ten times.

1 Peter 1 tells us “13 Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

I have changed – overall for the better – my faith in Christ solid-built in fires, furnances, pressures, crushings.
My love for Him deep. Not an emotional display of fake smiles and insincere “all is well” , but a deep, abiding peace and assurance; a settled contentedness in His hand, a peace in the eye of the storm.

Yet, at times, a ‘why’ whispers, arises, wants an answer to all the hard. But knowing an answer won’t come. Just reminders – Jospeh sold into slavery, Jacob wrestling with an angel, Jesus beaten and crucified – - – - His love constantly whispering, “rest”.

Like a dad leading a child by the hand through a busy airport or train station – “hold my hand and trust me, I’ll get you there” he says to the child; this my Heavenly Dad says to me.

I was naive when we moved here – ignorant of all the transitional changes, hidden motives and pressures felt, cultural differences, the hardness – even a trip to the grocery store here not easy – laundry, noise, dirt, poverty, interactions with others – taking in two orphan boys, Jerard with so many health problems; family dischord, a personal journey dealing with painful events from childhood, marital issues, communication issues – daily life the threshing floor to winnow out the chaff.

I wouldn’t trade it – this journey. I am so thankful to be here. Yes, it has been bone wearying, hard; and yet filled with grace, joy, thankfulness, love, hope; learning contentment. Our family is closer together.

We are more honest.

Poverty, heat, injustice, dirt, despair, facing “the dark night of the soul” bring greater joy, rest, unshakeable confidence in Christ and His leading. There is a gift in the hard time, the dark night of the soul. Christian life is a journey – a path involving movement, action, stops, starts, detours, delays and trips into the unknown.
The hard times are like seasons. They happen to us. Walls happen and only by journeying in and through the wall can one find true freedom, rest, confidence in Christ.

I’m reminded of a song I’ve sung “There’s a peace I’ve come
to know though my heart and flesh may fail.
There’s an anchor for my soul, I can say it is well.” (Chris Tomlin, I will Rise)

And it is.

It is well.

Our son, Jerard, taught me much about resting in my Saviour. I am thankful for the years we were parents to him.

All is well. It is well with my soul. This journey has changed me. I’m not who I was eight years ago. I am stronger, more sober-minded, resting in deep, unshakeable abiding confidence in the love of Christ – knowing nothing can separate me from Him, knowing He loves me. This is not just head knowledge like it used to be. This is deep heart speak. I am loved. All the way my Saviour leads me. It is well, it is well with my soul.

“The difference is that now we give out of a new, grounded center of ourselves in God. We have rediscovered God’s profound, deep, accepting love for us. A deep, inner stillness begins to characterize our work for God.” p120 Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, Pete Scazzero.

I’m thankful for these eight years here.

Part of me wants to stay longer, but another part pulls to get back to the USA, to reconnect with family, friends, to help our children learn a new culture. While their passport country is the USA, three of them have spent more time here in the Philippines than in the USA. Moving there will be another foreign country to them; and for us. We are not up on current trends, tv shows, fashions, etc. And really, in the face of poverty and need what matter is it what the latest fashion, movie star, sports icon is. It seems like superficial drival.
What really matters is building for His kingdom.

This journey has changed me and I thank God for calling our family overseas on this journey. Lead on, Dad.

— Beth Symanzik



International Day 2014 · 34 days ago

Every other year the school our kids attends hosts an International Day afternoon to celebrate the diverse cultures at the school. It is always an enjoyable afternoon of sampling various foods, watching cultural dances and chatting with others.

— Beth Symanzik