Eating Balut

Kirsten and her friend, Joy, wanted to try eating balut before they both leave the Philippines. Balut is a Philippine street vendor food.

A balut (spelled standardized as balot) is a developing bird embryo (usually a duck or chicken) that is boiled and eaten from the shell. It originates and is commonly sold as street-food in the Philippines. They are common food in countries in Southeast Asia. The Tagalog and Malay word balut means "wrapped".

The length of incubation before the egg is cooked is a matter of local preference, but generally ranges between 14 and 21 days.

Jeff_explaining_balut

Our friend, Jeff, loves balut. He took the girls to get some and then brought them back to our house to explain about and eat the balut!

inside_balut

Kirsten_trying_balut

Kirsten_Joy_enjoying_balut

The verdict was it tastes like a hard-boiled egg and chicken broth. Just don't look to closely at the baby duck in the egg!!!

Grace in the Wilderness

Transition, TCKs, OFWs

Kirsten and I leave the Philippines soon to journey to the USA. I can't say we are moving "home" because "home" isn't one place for us any more. Kirsten will settle into the USA, I'll be flying between "homes" for a while.

airplane

Part of the truth of third-culture-kids (TCKs) is that their heart home is most likely not their passport country, and family can be spread over continents. The Internet, Skype, and international cell phones makes conversation and staying in touch a bit easier but also can pull at heart-strings, making conversations bittersweet.

"Often the TCK lives with a sense of being "in the middle." Some years ago a college student named Ruth Goring wrote an essay entitled "I Am Green." She said that she was neither the "blue" culture of her passport county nor the "yellow" culture of the host country. She was somehow a mix of the two.

There are other people who find themselves caught in a crack between passport and host countries. They are touched by both and identify with both, yet without a sense of being owned or owning either one.

In either case, TCKs often find they are at home everywhere and nowhere, all at the same time. Home may always be elsewhere, and a sense of rootedness at any point of geography may be unknown. One learns to adjust, survive, and succeed, but the sense of "place" is elusive." (Raising Resilient TCKs. Editor, Joyce Bowers)

Kirsten is taking a 'gap-year-in-reverse' as she and I are calling it. Most students take a gap year to live abroad, help in missions, explore career opportunities; Kirsten's gap year will consist of learning her passport country culture and ways, exploring colleges and career options, learning to drive, visiting relatives and friends, working part time, etc.

It's all a bit weird, this season of our lives.

It feels a bit like a wilderness to me.

Your_plan_Gods_plan

Words fail to describe the "halo-halo" (mix-mix) of emotion and pulling family needs.

We are a bit like the many overseas foreign workers (OFWs) that leave the Philippines to work elsewhere. Part of the family stays in the Philippines while a member or two travel abroad to work.

No matter where any of us are, though, there is a calm in my heart that my Abba ordains my ways and the ways of each of us in this family (Psalm 16:11). He is caring and guiding and leading. As Jeremiah says in chapter 31, we find grace in the wilderness (v. 2), and we rest in His love and faithfulness (v. 3).

Part of that grace is exemplified in the niches God provides each of us: Mikayla is teaching English part-time at Faith International. She is gaining practical skills to accompany her dual-degree in upper education (middle school - high school) and English. Ben is in high school and on sports teams. He excels in the sciences, maths, and athletics. James is schooling at home under Mikayla's tutelage as well as taking specials at FIA in art, music, and PE. He will also soon start flute lessons, an instrument he's been wanting to play for several years now. Kurt is providing much-needed software to maternity clinics that serve the poor. His work is fulfilling to him and to those served. All graces from our loving Abba.

Soon, Kirsten and I will board a plane to the USA. Kirsten has no plans to return to the Philippines as she transitions forward to college and life in her passport country. I'll be returning to the Philippines in about 5 months and then return to the USA late April 2017 to finish my masters degree "if the Lord wills"....(James 4:13-15)

All is well to rest in His grace that He provides. He tenderly exudes His everlasting love in the variety of ways He leads, in the seasons He leads each of us through. It truly is grace. And as His child, I give Him thanks in all things (1 Thess. 5:18).

Lead on, O King eternal;
we follow, not with fears,
for gladness breaks like morning
where'er your face appears.
Your cross is lifted o'er us,
we journey in its light;
the crown awaits the conquest;
lead on, O God of might.

Ben is 15

Today, August 3rd, marks Ben's 15th birthday!

We've been teasing him that the school gave him a present by starting school on his birthday! He didn't really like that 'gift' from them!

Bens_first_day_school_and_Birthday

We made up for that by having his favorite, fried chicken, for supper, along with cake and ice cream.

Ben is a blessing and I pray he continues to grow in wisdom and grace, a man after God's own heart.

Rescue of a Kingfisher

The other day we found a baby Kingfisher bird in our laundry area. Since it is a walled in area we can only guess that the bird dropped in from a nearby nest on a ledge.

Kurt picked the bird up and released it to the empty lot/swamp next to our home. The bird took off running, seemingly enjoying it's freedom after being in a cement, walled area overnight!

bird-in-hand

Christmas in July

We received a Christmas card today from some dear friends in the Chicago area. They had mailed it out December 14, 2015.

letter

There is a faint Mexico postal stamp on the back of the envelope.

postalstamps

And it arrived in Davao on July 8, 2016.

Mail here can be unpredictable and I think this letter was on quite a journey before it arrived here!