Sunday, October 30, 2011

Some fun moments

Prince ran in to the living room where I was laying down for a few minutes. He jumped up to me, struck a proud gangsta pose, and shouted, "I OBEYED!" I have not idea what he was obedient about, but getting some positive feedback was apparently well worth the effort.

"I know," says my Lady. "I didn't want him making Princess wiggle off the chair any more, so I told him to leave her alone. Then I walked away. He followed me and said, "Mommy, I obeyed." Yes, you did, I agreed. Then approaching you was the next step in the story."


Prince managed to earn over 20 points today alone (clean underwear, reverence, and helpfulness). He had an immense amount of fun counting his points and translating them into games: "I can play Mario DS and Rainbow Game at the SAME TIME!"


Prince was choosing his pajamas: "Daddy, I can wear my green shirt to bed tonight, and then I can wear my other green shirt tomorrow for school so I can be Luigi!" He gets to be Mario every day normally at school, so I guess being Luigi is a different costume for him.

My classes will be greeted by Karl Marx, a departure from my more normal performance as Groucho, but since the topic will be on times when markets don't work that well, it seemed appropriate. Princess and Joy are likely to look a lot like themselves.


Speaking of class, on Wednesday I ran an auction in my principles of microeconomics classes to demonstrate that normal people really do behave the way we claim and they really do find this market equilibrium price. I was amazed at how my normally quiet classes I struggle to be able to hear turned into a leaping cacophony (where I struggled to hear one voice out of so many). At one point I had 4 students racing up to me trying to be the one who would get to accept someone's bid. I came home with a mighty sore throat, but it was an immensely fun class. 


Books Joy and I have been reading:

I read at night trying to push work out of my thoughts for a few minutes so I can fall asleep and during the shuttle home when it's too dark to grade. I've read a couple Agatha Christie mysteries, Eaglethorpe Buxton and the Elven Princess, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Inspector Zhang Gets His Wish, Thirst (a vampire story), The Thief Who Spat in Luck's Face, The Girl Born of Smoke, A Christmas Carol, and Macbeth - all on iPad. I've also worked on Plato's Ethics, The Mortal Messiah, The Hobbit, Lessons from Dead Economists, Are Economists Unethical?, and Dracula's Guest, plus miscellaneous blogs, Church publications, and scriptures.

Joy reads while feeding Princess and has gone through a couple dozen romance books on her Kindle. 

Velveteen ________

A week or so ago, I got fed up reading Prince's books and decided it was high time to expose him to Literature (other than our nightly scriptures). I mean, my parents were reading Tolkien to each other in our presence for years before this, and since I picked up the Hobbit again the other week, I've been chomping at the bit. But before unleashing Smaug on the poor boy, I thought I'd better start with some shorter, tamer stuff. Easier words might help.

Thanks to my slightly-broken iPad, I can download a world of literature at my fingertips and picked The Velveteen Rabbit to start with. I haven't read it in at least half my lifetime, and only watched the cartoon a couple times, but it was right up the alley I was looking for.

Tonight is when ***UNMEANINGFUL SPOILER*** the fairy showed up, so we'll finish the book next time. Just before I turned out the light, Prince asked if we could read it again when we finish. Yes, I think so.

Of the thoughts that brought tears to my eyes, one was wondering whether I'm praying that he is the Rabbit and that my love will be enough to make him a Real Boy, or whether I'm the Rabbit and I pray his love will be enough to make me a Real Dad.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

4 months old

 gga! That means greetings in Princess-talk. It's how my daddy talks to me.

Today I turn 4 months old. I'm starting to learn to put everything in my mouth, including not just my thumb, but Daddy's! I usually sit on his lap during dinner and he bounces me on his leg. Sometimes for fun, he offers me a bite of whatever he's eating. Sometimes for fun, I grab his hand and bring the food up to my mouth to see if he's serious. No luck yet, but someday I will get to taste his peanut butter sandwich. Mom and Dad are very glad I want to put things in my mouth.
 My brother is pretty cool. He makes me laugh. He's trying to get me to say, "I want a peanut butter sandwich," but I'm sticking to vowel sound practices with Daddy right now. I always like it when he tries to tickle me under my chin.

I can push myself up on my tummy. I can climb to a standing position if someone will support me. I sometimes sit down and then stand up again just to practice. I really want to stand. I'm not too interested in sitting up just yet, though.
Daddy has a lot of games he enjoyed playing with my brother, but I don't like most of them. I let him know I do not want to be tossed around or spun. I don't get to see too much of Daddy this semester because he works every evening and most every night. But I always give Daddy a big smile when he comes home or spends a little time with me. I like it when he holds me and I can snuggle close to him.

Prince tells me that for a long time, Daddy changed more of his diapers than Mommy did. I don't think Daddy has changed even one of my diapers in the last two weeks, though he may have gotten in one in the last month. And that's once of my favorite times of the day! I don't think Daddy ever imagined he would miss the chance to change a diaper, but he does.

I do like bouncing on my legs or on his leg, and spinning in my new Exersaucer. My brother was very nice to let me use it. I'm not too keen on playing with the toys on top yet, but Mommy had my grandparents send me a squeeky giraffe as an early Christmas present. It's supposed to be a teething toy, but for me it's a toe-ing toy. I step on it while in the saucer and it squeeks! How fun! I also like spinning around in the saucer, but I grip tightly so the whole thing moves instead of just my seat.

Another toy that came with our shipment was this jungle gym. I don't care too much about the toys at my hands (notice the pattern?) but I love kicking with my feet.

I have a fun game I play just before going to bed. I get my "last drink" for the night, and after the first bit, I pause. I look up at Mommy and smile winsomely. I grin. I laugh. I have another sip. I look at her and grin. I laugh. I have another sip. I can keep from going to bed for a good long while like that!

Then Mommy or Daddy sings me to sleep. I sleep from about 7 or 8pm until 5-7am. I don't like waiting for Mommy to shower all that much, but when she comes to get me, I give her a great big smile from my playpen in the morning. Mommy takes such very good care of me and always lets me accompany her wherever she goes in the house. I spend a lot of my day being held by Mom, and some of it sitting up in my car seat when she washes dishes or otherwise has to have both her hands. I don't like being out of her hands, though.

Buying Fans

Yes, did anyone know that I am running for election and want to buy your votes. I am just kidding.
Last week I was doing some grocery shopping and had finished buying food. I asked my driver if he knew a place that I could buy a fan to move air around in our home. I was really hoping to find two. The first place that we went to was asking more than I was willing to pay for one fan, so we left and were headed home, when I saw a place across the street with fans. We stopped, I chose a couple of fans, put them in the car and we went home. I was happy to have found the fans at a reasonable price.
When we got home I plugged in one of the fans. It worked for maybe 5 minutes. The other fan was then quickly plugged in and turned on. It sounded wonderful, only you could stand right in front of it and not feel any breeze at all. I was really disturbed. In Nigeria they do not give out receipts unless you ask specifically for them and I had no idea as to whether or not I would be able to exchange them for working fans.
The next day I contacted the driver that took me the day before (not my regular driver) and was determined to find out what could be done. We loaded up the fans and took them back. I was grateful to see the same lady there at the store. I told her that neither one of the fans I bought the day before worked and she told me to come in and sit down while they put together another fan for me. A man got a box and started assembling one fan. I was nervous about the number of fans, but I was very happy that she was willing to give some reimbursement.
As I sat there chatting with her, I learned that she has two sibling in the United States, a 9 mo old, 5 children, likes fried rice. Some normal kind of stuff. But there was a guy, I think her brother who came in and was really random in his attempts at conversation. He told me to buy him a CD player. I was incredulous and said no. Then he suggested that he buy one for me. I told him I didn’t need one. Then he suggested that I was wearing a wig, no I assured him that all of my hair was my own. And then he told me that he was going to follow me to the US. I said no, you can go there, but I don’t want to be followed. Of course all of these pieces of conversation were wreathed with laughter.
At some point I asked if I was going to get a second fan, and she said yes and another one was brought out. I had them plugged in this time and stood in front of them to make sure that air was coming out of the front and that they would run for more than a couple of minutes. It was a pleasant visit and before I left the lady told me that I was now her friend and that I should think of her whenever I make fried rice and bring her some sometime. She also offered to make me Nigerian food sometime. I am glad that I decided to go back and didn’t cut my losses.

The Prodigal Returns 2

I left for Des Moines for the World Food Conference two weeks ago Monday. The Saturday before I left we got the wonderful email about the return of the sacque. When I told Joy I had wonderful news and she wouldn't believe it, she guessed that our stuff had suddenly arrived. No, I said, that would be quite the miracle.

And then I got this little ping inside me ... yes, it would be something else, wouldn't it? I wonder....

Well I had to head to campus that Saturday to print midterms anyway, so I got on one of the few weekend shuttles in to town. On my way, Pres. Ensign's secretary called. Our stuff had arrived and could I please come in to get it?

What??!? HUZZAH!

We shipped our things to New Orleans where a warehouse was gathering the shipments from many professors, all of which would be sent on to Nigeria at one time. And there it sat. For months. It would still take 2-3 months to ship it to us once it finally left the warehouse, and then another month crossing Nigeria from Lagos after someone paid what are delicately called "customs fees". We were beginning to look at a Christmas without our things. In planning for my Des Moines trip, we had planned that I was bringing two large, empty suitcases to fill with things from WalMart we needed. A good portion of the list included things we had shipped ourselves - especially medicine - and only carried a 3 month supply of when we moved here.

Then Pres. Ensign got fed up with the wait and had it all flown to us!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Sarcasm fail

Prince has been sick for closing in on a week now: low-grade fever and a pretty ineffectual cough since Sunday. He's been miserable. He's been more miserable because we actually keep him down on the couch, a state my active little boy is never in. He may have been a little sick while I was in Des Moines last week, but the real illness at least managed to wait until I got back. Since I've been home grading midterms this week, I've been able to take a few shifts watching over him, poor thing.

After the few bites of breakfast he could stomach, we turned on Mary Poppins for him. While Joy and I finished our breakfasts [I made french toast!], I made snide comments about Mr. Banks. Then Prince called out demanding some attention.

Mr. Banks had just sung, "I'm the lord of my castle," so I came over, saying, "Yes, your Lordship."

He cried out, "No, Daddy! I'm not a ship!"

 -- Derrill

Monday, October 17, 2011

Ode to a potato peeler

Returning from the States, I presented my Lovely and Gracious with a token of mine esteem. It was not on the shopping list she sent me.

It was ... a potato peeler.

She has spoken raptures about it since, and I thought it would appropriate to join her rejoicings with those of generations past:

I had forgotten how great a perfect potato peeler can be. We may actually have potatoes now. - Joy

It is a truth universally acknowledge that a potato peeler in posession of a good blade must be in want of a potato. - Jane Austen [Pride, Prejudice, and Potatoes, p. 1]

And men are instructed sufficiently that they know a good potato peeler from an evil one. - Lehi [2nd Nephi 2:5]

Not "virtues" but "Virtue" is his ideal, and Virtue is nothing other than the duty of the potato peeler. -- Schiller [On grace, dignity, and Potatoes]

A man is never more truthful than when he acknowledges his potato peeler has grown dull. - Mark Twain

Westley: I mean, if only we had a potato peeler! That would be something.
Inigo: Where did we put that potato peeler the albino had?
Fezzik: Over by the albino, I think.
Westley: Well, why didn't you list that among our assets in the first place?
 -- Scene from The Potato Bride

A man can be short and dumpy and getting bald but if he has a good potato peeler, women will like him. - Mae West

All the world's a potato peeler,
And all the men and women merely potatoes.
They have their eyes and their bruises,
And one man in his pot makes many meals.
               - Shakespeapre, As You Like Potatoes, Act II, scene vii, 139-142

Random Princely Pictures

It's been awhile since I pulled out any random pictures and just enjoyed where we have been and things we have done. Here are some randomly selected pictures from Prince's 3.5 years - mostly in reverse chronological order.
At Prince's old school, taking my
new camera for its first spin

Prince at his Weasley-handsomest

BLOCKS! A tower of blocks!

Baby Prince and Pop

Prince's first Halloween as Captain America,
plus Zorro and a Roman aristocrat
Baby Prince Droolsalot

Two Buzz Lightyears and one exceptionally happy boy

After talking to Crush, Prince tries to find Nemo
but only finds himself.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


What do I notice about not being in Nigeria so far?

1 - Real bananas. REEEEAL bananas
2 - Real milk.

No, okay
3 - It's fall. In Yola, it's still winter, which means my kitchen is a mere 90 degrees first thing in the morning. Out here, it's autumn. There are colored leaves. The weather is amazingly comfortable.
4 - While I was getting ready for bed, I realized that I do not actually need to unplug this computer lest a power surge blow out the battery.
5 - I look forward to trying out this soft-looking bed.
6 - I don't seem to have a phone that works in the US anymore.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Eternity = 15 years?

Story Time!

In 1997 I was a missionary. There was this guy who was not all together there upstairs, but he was a good kid. He loved the Church and the gospel. He read the Bible daily, prayed, and did everything he could.

Then came the movie Titanic. The pictures of Jesus came off his wall to be replaced with pictures of Leonardo di Caprio. He said he wanted to bear his testimony of di Caprio one Sunday -- we convinced him to bear witness of the reality of the spirit world and that the real people on the Titanic were now there awaiting the resurrection instead. It was an uphill battle.

It was a really bad time. I came to loathe that movie and everything associated with it. I swore to be annoyed for a very long time at Celine Dion and Kate Winslet, and that lasted about 2/3 years for Celine (when I heard a bunch of drunken Russians singing My Heart Will Go On) and 6/7 years for Kate (forgiven thanks to performing in Shakespeare). More important to me, I swore "eternal hatred" for Leonardo di Caprio. I would never see a di Caprio film. Not going to do it. While I recognized that the day might come that I could forgive him, it was a point of pride that I had not, even when he started showing up in movies that looked vaguely interesting.

Then Inception came out. It sounded really good. The more I heard about the story, the more interested I was. Learning it was totally ripped off from Donald Duck didn't hurt. Too bad it stars di Caprio. Oh well.

Soooo there I was on the airplane today... and there was Inception... Yeah, and dang it ... di Caprio does an excellent job. Granted, he only has about one expression on his face the entire movie, but it is a more appropriate expression to the role than Keanu Reeves would be able to give it. The movie was great like everyone said. Very well done.

So the longest I can manage "eternal hatred" is 15 years. I am uncertain whether to be proud of this or ashamed, and if ashamed, in which direction. [Dude, there is no way this should have lasted that long; Dude, there was no way I should have given in and watched the movie today, breaking such a great record.]

Such are the things I ponder after 40 sleepless hours. G'night from Des Moines, everyone.
 -- Derrill

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Improved Peanut Butter

One of these jars is not like the others...

Okay, none of these jars is remotely like the others. The first is real, genuine, creamy Skippy. The second is the cheap knock off product (Skkipy) made with extra oil and lots of nut chunks. The third is ostensibly from England, claims in three places to be Extra Super chunky and has a grand total of two nuts in it and an odd lack of oil. This makes it almost unspreadable.

They are all strange. They are all strange because they all taste totally different. They are all strange because they all cost the same amount. They are all strange because none of them is our usual brand.

Prince is happy to eat the real creamy Skippy. He's so happy to eat it, he has started declaring a preference for creamy over crunchy, much to my chagrin even if it was expected. Ever odder, though ... I'm happy to eat the creamy Skippy. I've never liked creamy peanut butter, but this is addictively good.

Prince is not happy to eat the others. The Skkipy is much too crunchy for him now and the Best-in is also declared to be "crunchy" when he means dry and hard.

Now, if the one is oily and the other is dry, why not combine them? I do. It's still too dry. So I actually POUR IN EXTRA OIL to the peanut butter. Not much, but some. I stir it up, and smear it on the bread, and he likes it. We all agree, the extra oil is a definite improvement. "Necessary," quothe the Joy, who is not a peanut butter fiend like us. "No, I'm going back to not liking peanut butter much, although I do like the Skippy."

This grand mix has a name my son gave it: Improved Peanut Butter. "Dad, is that improved?" he asks before I spread it. "Let me taste it." I ask him if it is improved enough. No, not yet, okay. More oil.... Is it improved enough now? "Yes!" He's gone back to eating it off the spoon.

Our stores have run out of the real peanut butter a couple times already -- largely our fault. We go through about 3 jars a week and Prince's peanut butter needs have been a staple not only of our dinner table, but of my economics classes. The day we bought the last Luka had was tragic because some other faculty saw me getting it and grabbed some out of my basket. "But, but, but that's all my son will eat!" I stammered. "I haven't had any," the other faculty protested, who could see plainly I was buying 5 jars. Oh and hey, another faculty other there, Watson's got peanut butter. Come get it from him. .... That was not a happy day.

So I am thankful for cheap knock offs and false friends from England who showed up after that day, without whom we might not be able to feed our son. This is his only source of protein and almost his only source of fat.

Tender Mercy: The prodigal returns 1

And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost.
We had the happiest email this week. A few years ago, Joy spent a year making this crocheted sacque for our baby boy. Prince loved it. It was enormous and built to last him a few years.

Then Joy showed it at a church talent show in May. Prince was being a pill, so she took him and left early ... leaving the sacque behind. I was visiting AUN at the time. Since it was getting warmer, we didn't notice until we were packing to leave. We called and emailed several people. No one remembered seeing it. Someone remembered that the very week after the talent show, the church sent all of its lost and found stuff to the Salvation Army.

We toured their offices regularly, trying to find this wonderful thing Joy had poured herself into, without any luck. We finally left Ithaca, somewhat broken-hearted to have lost it forever.

Then our good friend emailed this week. She found it. She found it! Huzzah!

So come rejoice with us, for the piece which we had lost is found.

How worldwide is General Conference?

I'm not sure why this didn't post when I wrote it a month ago. I'm even more confused why it didn't post last week when I reposted it. Let's try it one more time, shall we?

More than half of the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) live outside the US. More than 1 in 4 members speaks Spanish as their primary language and more than 1 in 10 speak either Portuguese or a Philippine dialect. In the last thirty years, Africa's share of LDS membership has grown from close to 0 to 3%. Every year, the membership looks less and less like the stereotype most people have of the Church. That's one of the reasons I keep up the "LDS in ..." series, to showcase the lives of actual members in this diverse world.

The newest LDS temple is in San Salvador, El Salvador. This is the 4th Central American temple (Mexico has it looks like 12). There is another new stake [a large grouping of congregations] in Peru, the 96th, bringing the country closer to becoming the 5th in the world with over 100 stakes.

I was interested to learn this morning that - just as Christ, Messiah, and Annointed One express the same concept translated in different languages (Greek, Hebrew, and English) - Allah is likewise the Arabic word for God:

In these instances the Greek word θεὸς is translated into the English “God”, the German “Gott”, and the French “Dieu”. These are not differing unique English, German, and French deities but rather just the generic word in the respective language to express the Greek word. So it is with the Arabic word الله‎ (Allāh).  ...
Who would have ever guessed that Arabic speaking Muslims, Jews and Christians use the same Arabic word (Allah) to name the God they are worshiping? To illustrate by way of personal experience, when my family and I traveled to Israel in 2006 we sat in on a Roman Catholic mass attended by Palestinian Christians. Does anyone want to guess what word in Arabic we repeatedly and distinctly heard throughout this beautiful Christian liturgy?

-- Derrill

Smiles of a Different Color

When children are little they learn how to smile. Our children have been very different in the way they learned this skill. Prince seemed to be born with the knowledge of smiling. He did not wait for me to smile. He made me smile and laugh. I remember being overwhelmed as new parent and some days Prince was the only one that could make me smile. Infact I think that Derrill sometimes used Prince as a weapon against me when I was down.
Princess is the opposite. She usually waits for us to smile, and is becoming more and more willing to smile. Her favorite time to smile is when she gets her diaper changed. It surprised me so much because Prince hated having his diaper changed. My favorite time that she smiles is in the morning. When I get her in the morning if I will wait and smile at her before picking her up she will smile in anticipation of me getting her out of bed. I miss that smile if I pick her up too soon. I am sure there is a lesson in that for being patient and happiness :)
I love both of their smiles and I am so glad they share them frequently.

Conference Oct 2011

There is a prophet that speaks to us today, who tells us the words of Jesus, just as they did in the past. His name is Thomas S, Monson. He is also the president of Jesus Christ’s church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. We were privileged to listen to the semi-annual conference of the church last weekend. I am so grateful that the internet connection worked so well even here in our home in Jimeta, Nigeria. It is like being at home.
 -- Joy

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Games and Cookies

We have had some fun game nights. The Austin family has been over to play games with us a couple times.  We got together and played Dominion and they brought over some divine homemade peanut butter cookies. Another night we played a fun game of scrabble where you don’t use the board. Everyone gets 7 tiles and you try to make a word or words with it. When someone uses all of their tiles, they say go. When someone says go everyone has to take another tile. When someone uses all their tiles again they say go and another tile is drawn for everyone. When all the tiles are gone the first person to say go which is using all their tiles is the winner. It is fast and fun and I stink at it :) We then played Guillotine which they liked very much. They were good nights.
We got to spend time online with out friends the Peterson’s. We played Dominion online and we are looking forward to playing Carcassone and Ticket to Ride online together too. I have really enjoyed seeing some of their picture lately. It is so nice to feel a part of their lives. I am not very good at online games either, but they are fun.
I have been enjoying a game called Wonderland Adventures on the computer from Big Fish games. Most of it’s levels do not have a time limit so I am doing alright though I usually feel stupid on computer games. Derrill had to help me with one level because it was timed and needed to be faster than my clicker clicks. We had gotten the game for me a while back, but I often lose interest in games before I get very far. Prince is the one that was persistent with this game and once he got farther in his game than I did on my old game I had gotten interested in it again. It is a story line puzzle game (go through mazes, get keys open doors, collect jems and coins. No fighting, but you have to avoid attacks from plants that spit fire.
My activity of choice when I nurse Princess is to read. In the past 2 months I have read 13 books, some of the books of the New Testament,  continuing the Book of Mormon, and some Ensigns. I don’t think I have ever read so much in such a short period of time. Go Kindle!
Have a great week everyone,

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

3 Month Growth spurt

All most the day that Princess turned 3 months she just got ravenous. She was asking for food every hour and sleeping very little inbetween. Then after a couple of days of feeling like every plea was a request for food, I was nursing her and she lost all the milk she just drank and I think all that she had the feeding before. Half of my skirt, my shirt, my sheet and the bed. There was so much after mopping it up, I accidentally sat on it later and had to change my pants again that were totally soaked through. I am sure she was just as surprised as me. Derriill keeps trying to remind me that change is really normal for these little ones. I was just starting to get used to her schedule of sleeping and eating. I guess she is trying to keep me on my toes
  -- Joy

Monday, October 3, 2011

Market Kindness

The last two weeks that I went to the market I needed to keep my shopping trip simple. Princess needed to eat while I was at the market both times. It is interesting because people here are a little more willing to share their opinions with you when they have never met you. So when my baby is crying as I go through the stalls ladies are calling out to me, “You need to feed your baby”.
The trip two weeks ago, I was pausing before a material stall to look at the material. The lady that owned the shop asked me, “What do you want?”. I had an honest moment. I don’t want you to think that I am not normally honest, but I have always thought that people who ask  you questions and don’t know you might not REALLY want the answer. In my frankness I answered “I want to feed my baby”. The lady invited me into her stall, gave me the only seat with a back which was directly under a nice powerful fan so that I could feed her. I felt cared for and I was really grateful to her for allowing me that time and rest, the market is really tiring.
This last week when I came home with low grade heat stroke (only a headache, but one that had to have meds). I was shopping and I was at my last place as far as I was concerned for shopping purposes. I bought a set of plastic baskets that stand on top of each other for my vegitables and fruits. I don’t remember why, but a lady came over to where I was from another stall. It may have been because my baby was crying. She told me that I needed to feed my baby, to which I agreed and she took me to her stall and sat me down under her fan so that I could feed my baby. As I sat there, I noticed that she had a child napping on some blankets to the side of her. The child was a baby only 1 month older than mine. Given how tired and hot I was (more than any other trip to the market) I was so grateful to her as well. There did happen to be something in her shop that I wanted, so I bought it. Infact, I may end up going back to the other store to buy the material when I am ready to make a dress. The first material store (the one that I fed princess in) offered 7,000 Naira for 5 yard of material when another place I walked into the same day said that 1 yard was 3,000 Niara for the same type of material.
It is not just because they helped me that they are likely to get my business. Although I think that big businesses underestimate the personal touch and customer service benefits and loyalty. It feels so nice to be treated with compassion among people you do not know, and I feel that they are less likely to try to charge me an arm and a leg because they see me as more human too.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

15 minutes Outside

I didn’t realize how scared of my surroundings I have been. This is the same world and I am the same person. But we got so many warnings about diseases here and there are so many bugs (including small lizards) that join us in our home unwanted that I have not been comfortable. It has been interesting to note the small things that help me to overcome these feelings like 15 minutes outside.
One day this week one of the boys next door asked if Prince could come outside to play. He has been inviting him to play quite regularly, but I am not always ready to let our son go outside. His friend is beginning to find out how small the window is in each day that I will let Prince go outside (partly because of the time of day that malaria can be a problem and family time).
So on the day this week that I am thinking of I told his friend that I would talk to Prince who was changing and get back to him about going outside. His friend said that he would wait outside the door. I laugh because he says that other times and never does :). I talk to Prince and we decide that he can go outside and for how long, he gets ready and I go out with him.
Now, Prince doesn’t want me to go outside with him. He wants to do all of this by himself, but last time I sent him out by himself he knocked on their door and stayed inside watching DS. The time I send him out I expect him to be playing outside. So Prince says to me, “Mom you stay here, you need to do the dishes”. What a crafty little 3 year old he is. I refused that logic however.
We went outside to look for Prince’s friend. We knocked on his door, and looked outside, but found him not (we did end up having his 3 year old brother tagging along with us though, the friend is 5). Prince was so excited about playing outside that I stayed outside with them for 15 minutes after we could not find his friend.
As I sat there watching Prince and the other little boy playing, there was a nice breeze and the day wasn’t too hot.  I suddenly felt a sense of normalcy that I hadn’t felt before in being here in Africa. It is hard to explain it, but I wasn’t afraid of what I was breathing or what kind of bugs might crawl on me or my children. It was a moment of a calm feeling like things were alright. I felt very blessed.
 -- Joy

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Elder Callister's Book

This is a repost from our old family blog, January 2010. Given that Brother Callister was just sustained as a member of the Presidency of the 70, I thought some people might be interested to know more about his book:

Two verses from the Doctrine and Covenants usually get some good play teaching US teenagers about irony:

"59:13 - And on this [Sabbath] day thou shalt do none other thing, only let thy food be prepared with singleness of heart that thy fasting may be perfect, or, in other words, that thy joy may be full.
14 - Verily, this is fasting and prayer, or in other words, rejoicing and prayer."

Fasting is joy and rejoicing? Going without food is not fun. What is this? A counselor in my stake presidency back at BYU (Litchfield) helpfully pointed out that one of the things God is saying is that fasting is like kissing: if you're doing it right, you'll enjoy it. God made them both to be enjoyed.

Today, I'm doing it right.
I prayed last night to know what I should be fasting about and felt a Spirit-ual nudge in one direction. I read my scriptures, which by odd coincidence were about fasting and the blessings that come to people who diligently and regularly fast, and then went back to trying to finish Elder Tad R. Callister's book The Infinite Atonement that I received 6 years ago for graduating from the church institute program.

In Chapter 23, he moves from a discussion of God's grace as a power that is both redemptive and exalting to a discussion of the gifts of the Spirit. I had well known one of his early points, made by Elder Orson Pratt, that the gifts are not primarily there to convert others, though they may assist in accomplishing that. When the scriptures then refer to the gifts being there for the perfecting of the saints, though, I had largely assumed that they were there to enable us to do specific things. Missionaries call on the gift of tongues to learn the language. We ask for the gift of healing so we can be healed. We ask for gifts of revelation to know how to do a part of our calling or to bless our child or something else. The gifts are there to do something.

What then-Bro. Callister emphasizes is that the things to do aren't the point. The point of the gifts is to change us, to enable us to become like God, to perfect us little by little. He cites Pres. George Q. Cannon, who tells us that the gifts of the Spirit will "eradicate" our imperfections. "He wants His Saints to be perfected in the truth. For this purpose He gives these gifts ... notwithstanding their many weaknesses, because God has promised to give the gifts that are necessary for their perfection." Callister speaks about an "orderly, persistent persuit," of a God who, "in his unbounded kindness anxiously seeks to shower these spiritual gifts upon us" but "we must ask. We must want the gifts so fervently that this pursuit is a constant, unending struggle."

And I realized that the answers to the things I have been struggling with at the end of last year are in the gifts of the Spirit. By prayerfully identifying and dedicatedly seeking for specific gifts that will eradicate weakness - not just vaguely praying to overcome - the way will be open. And, oh, how I rejoiced to feel the love of God for me and for each of us in that thought! Fasting is joy and rejoicing!

I got some great gifts for Christmas. I'm enjoying them. I think I'm going to make 2010 the Year of Gifts, earnestly coveting the best ones.

Prince discovers cowboys

For family fun time we've been watching some old Disney cartoons. Prince has a new favorite: A Cowboy Needs a Horse. He's asked for it several days in a row and for the first time he wanted Daddy to be a horse. "Giddy up, Pardner," he shouts, and I giddy up and he giddies down laughing onto the bed, and I lay down so he can clamber up on me one more time to start again. He's finding toys to be lassos. But he admits he doesn't know any "western songs" to sing.

Happy Nigerian Independence

51 years old and getting better every day.

First World Problems

At my work blog the number one search lately has been First World Problems. That got me thinking about problems I no longer have, now that I live in Nigeria:

I don't worry about the escalating price of gasoline because I don't have a car anymore.
I also don't worry about finding parking places, or paying for parking.
I don't worry about paying doctor bills to half a dozen doctors because I don't have specialists out here.
I don't worry about finding a place for stuff that doesn't fit inside my home, because I don't have most of my stuff anymore.
I don't worry about 75 degrees feeling too hot to go to sleep.
I don't worry about snow, or getting a good winter coat, or making sure the kids are warm enough. (Though some of our maintenance staff do worry about children being too cold.)
I don't worry about trying to fit in. I stick out like such a sore thumb, there's no hope. (Not that there was ever much hope for me blending in.)

Here are some from tonight's Twitter feed, in case you wanted something slightly more humorous:

The clasp on my string of pearls broke.
Not being able to read because my book ran out of batteries.
My dogs keep sitting in front of my DVR and I'm having a hard time fast forwarding through the commercials.
I was expecting something I bought online to arrive today, but it didn't.
Health issues prevented me from wearing high heels. This is a problem because I own 30+ pairs.

 -- Derrill