Celebrating a decade.

It seems sort of amazing to me that Ben & I have something to celebrate that happened 10 years ago.

 

10 years ago, on St. Patrick’s Day, I came home from work & was sent on a random scavenger hunt that led me to Ben, a fondue dinner out in the woods, a Big question, and a sparkly ring.

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We usually celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a fondue dinner. Here’s our current favorite fondue recipe. (Getting the gruyere cheese at Sam’s is usually a better deal than getting at the local grocery store-it’s a little pricey.)

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This year our dessert was Reese’s s’mores in the toaster oven. YUM!

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Buy Some Cobbler. It’s tasty

I’m trying to sell ten pans of blackberry cobbler this month. It’s truly good cobbler . It even won second place in a contest. See:

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Here is how it works: There are 10 cobblers available this month. A pan is 9 x 14 or so and costs $25. Just send me an email (ben@poolhouseblue.com). Ill make it fresh the day you want it (schedule permitting of course, we can work that out), and deliver it to you if you live in tulsa. If your outside of the Tulsa area we can figure something out. Pay cash when i deliver it.

There is a reason for this of course. Our church is trying to pay off some debt. A few of us thought it would be interesting to each take $50 and try to multiply it into as much money as possible. So, for this little project im donating the $50, after that I will be paying myself back for the cost of ingredients, but beyond that all the money will be applied to our churches debt, or toward ingredients for a second round in February.

10   3 Cobblers Left in January

The Stockings Were Hung by the Chimney With Care…

We have had an ongoing dilemma in our house every Christmas since we got married.

 

Ben displays the stocking he has had since he was little.

 

But my childhood stocking is still with my parents. And I sort of want it to stay there for now. I guess I just always imagined that when I had my own family we would have matching stockings like I had while growing up.

 

Ben has been reluctant to trade in his stocking for a newer one, so that we could have matching stockings.

 

And so this year (9 years later), we have finally have matching stockings!

 

Because I made one for myself, to match Ben’s. I used a scarf that was a beautiful blue knit fabric, but the scarf itself was a bit too short. So I re-purposed it into the base for my stocking. I used fabric scraps that I have had for a long time for the rest of the stocking.

 

My favorite part is the gold ribbon along the top. This fabric scrap was nestled in the sewing kit I inherited from my great grandmother. I have loved it since I found it (about 15 years now!) & have been saving it for just the right project to come along.

 

I’ve been in a bit of a funk lately, and stretching that creative ability I mentioned yesterday has been good for my soul.

 

I’m really happy with the way it turned out. And that we now have matching stockings. 🙂

And…here we go…

The house is bought, the bags are (mostly) packed, the final wal-mart run has been made. Its time to go to Uganda.

It has truly been a crazy last few days. We really did buy a house just 4 days ago. I think “house owner” has not really set in yet (partly because really we are just %5 owner…the bank still owns a lot of this house!). It is exciting though to be able to look around know we are here long term, that we can do projects that might take a year or more to finish and know that we will be here to see them through. So…its all exciting, but i have not had time to really process the whole thing. Oh…a huge thank you to all the people who helped us move. You made our lives easy that day and we are really thankful!

In the mean time…we are laving for Uganda in the morning. We talk about Uganda and our involvement with Kibo Group a lot on this blog, so just search through the Uganda category if you want to catch up. As we prepare for this trip there are lots of things going through my mind: I am excited to get to share Jinja and the work that Kibo does with new people who have never been there before. At the same time I am a bit nervous about being the facilitator of this trip, and supposedly the leaders of the group. In the end I want those of us that are going, and those who we will be seeing in Jinja to learn and grow from these next few days, and for God to be glorified through this trip.

We will write a lot more about this when we get back, and we may do some updates while we travel (no promises…), until then we hope that you will pray for our journey.

On buying refrigerators and houses

We bought a refrigerator this weekend. Its going to go in that house we are buying. Which all feels very grown up and makes me want Peter Pan to shows up tonight. Its been interesting to see what things are important to us when we make big decisions. Like many people we want to live a somewhat simple life that is uncluttered by lots of stuff, not wasteful of the things we have, and respectful to the people around us. But we are not very good at that. We still have lots of things we never use, but might someday. We still have things we dont need, or, really, even want, we just never bother to get rid of them. We still let enough food go to waste in our refrigerator to feed a small country.

I have been thinking recently that i want to have less things but better things. Things that last, that bring value, that are well designed. I want to learn to truly appreciate one or two of those things then a bunch of stuff.

We only sort of took this into account intentionally when we picked our house…funny because a house is something to be very intentional about. In the end though we ended up in a smaller house. We are paying on the high end square footage wise, but its still less money then a big house, and its a better house. But there is something more subtle about it that is going to be frustrating at first, but will be good in the long run: its smaller sure, but it also does not have a lot of storage space. Less space to hide away stuff that we are unwilling to get rid of. If we want to live a simple life we need a house that will help us reach that goal, not encourage us to do the opposite. I am sure that when we can’t find a place for that random box we need to store we are going to be frustrated, but, in the end it will be worth it.

When we bought our refrigerator we were a lot more intentional about that. We have a bad habit of having way to much stuff in the refrigerator, it gets lost in the deep dark corners, goes bad, costs us money, and is wasteful. A few months ago we filled up the back half of our fridge with old orange juice bottles full of water. We are still getting better at it, but overall this has forced us to be a lot more intentional about what we buy and how quickly we use it. So, for our new fridge we were really intentional. We bought a smallish fridge (18 ft3). But more importantly it is wide, but not deep, so things wont get lost in the back. It has clear drawers so we can see what is in the fresh produce part. It will force us to keep less food around and to plan our meals better. Im sure it is going to drive us crazy.

I think we need to make this a trend. We are not disciplined enough to really live the life style that we want, so, for us, its going to be really important that the things we surround ourselves with help us to live simply. They have to help us, not fight against us.

Fundraising Update!

***Finished! Thanks to the generosity of our church and friends and family we are essentially done. Thanks for the help!***

We only need about $2,000 to finish out our fundraising for this trip! (We started needing $6,400…we are so close!)

This is basically the cost of 1 of our plane tickets.

Here’s how that $6,400 breaks down, in case you’re interested:

  • Plane Ticket: $2000 each
  • In Country Expenses (food, lodging, transportation, safari): $1200 each
  • Total Needed: $6,400 ($3,200 each)
  • Total Received: $4,400
  • Total Still Needed: $2,000

If you would like to help out the details are on the  Kibo page. Just put Ben and Beth in the purpose line of the paypal form, or your check or whatever.

 

Back to Africa

This picture was taken one year ago:

Two wide-eyed Americans, armed with passports, a few shots, prayers & curiosity. Headed into a land & a people that were unfamiliar.

We returned with a good supply of African (& European) dust in our backpacks, stories of new experiences, pictures & memories of a trip that has forever changed us.

And apparently once was not enough. We are headed back. In just 2 months we will return to Ugandan soil, fresh pineapples & bananas, dusty streets filled with a perfume of exhaust & burning trash, & friends who will smile huge smiles & hug us with love & welcoming arms.

We made a short video to explain the trip & why we are going back. You can watch it here:

Trip to Jinja-QuickTime H.264 from Ben West on Vimeo.

And we need help. We have about $2000 so far! And we need $5000 more. Would you consider joining us? Gifts can be made directly to Kibo Group here: http://www.kibogroup.org/give/ Just be sure to mark “Ben & Beth West” on your donation.

We’d love to sit down with you (or skype!) & tell you more about this trip, tell you some stories, ask you some questions. Don’t be shy! Let us know when a good time would be & we’ll set something up!