Sunday, June 28, 2009

Miss Kitty goes to summer home.

Some of you probably read my 2nd post. It was all about Miss Kitty, our cat. We adopted her from a shelter here in Cairo this past Winter. She wasn't a kitten when we got her. She was around a year and 7 months old. I think they said she was born in June of 2007, so, she has probably already had her 2nd birthday.

She was found with a litter of kittens on the streets of Cairo, by a female Doctor here. This woman then took her and her kittens to this shelter to be looked after and cared for. They named her Nagua (after the woman that found her), but when we brought her home, we found out that it is not the norm here to give animals actual "human" names, so we started calling her Miss Kitty.

As many of you know, we will be traveling to the U.S. to see our family there, so, we had to find her a place to stay while we are gone. I kind of felt like Miss Kitty knew something was going on as of yesterday. Last night, she started following me from room to room and jumping up on my lap a little more than usual. Then this morning, first thing, she planted herself on my lap and did not want to get down.

Tim quickly snapped a few pictures of her on my lap because she was getting into some funny positions. Then, he took the picture of me holding her. This is right before we left for the shelter. Then finally, there is a picture of her at the shelter. She wasn't too happy. They will not keep her couped up in this cage all of the time. They will let her out some once she gets used to her surroundings and being around other cats again.

The shelter we took her to is called EMRO, which stands for "Egyptian Mau Rescue Organization". I explained in a previous post that the Egyptian Mau is considered to be the original breed of cat here in Egypt. If you would like to find out more about these cats or EMRO, you can go to this link:

It is really quite interesting. This organization adopts cats out all over the world.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Is There Something Wrong With The Watermelon?

I'm not that much of a fruit eater, but I absolutely LOVE watermelon. I would probably make myself sick on it if it were a fruit available year-round. One of the great things about Egypt is that there is always a big variety of fresh fruit easily available. What I mean about "easily available" is that you don't even have to go to the market or the grocery store to buy fruit. There is usually a fresh fruit stand within walking distance from any apartment you might live in, but I will post on these in the future.

My post today has to do with some watermelon I bought recently. I was really craving watermelon. It was the first one I bought this summer. I brought it home and put it in the refrigerator to let it cool down a little. Then, that evening, with mouth watering, I cut it in half, and to my surprise it just didn't look quite normal. It was YELLOW inside. It wasn't pink like every other watermelon I have had in my life. I asked Tim if there might be something wrong with it. I can't remember his exact answer, but I think he said he had heard of yellow watermelon before. Well, being the skeptic I am, I immediately went to the internet and did a search. I came to find out that yellow watermelons really do exist. The internet said they are rare, and they are known for there even more sweet taste than the normal pink ones, and to my delight, the internet was right. It was delicious, and even more sweet than the ones I've had before.

I have since then bought one more watermelon, and guess what!!!!! It was yellow too. Have any of you ever heard of yellow watermelon or tasted it? Leave me a comment and let me know. It would be interesting to know just how rare these watermelons are.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Sweet and Sour Chicken

I have never really enjoyed cooking. There are times when I am in the mood to cook something, but I usually prefer to cook or make meals that are real simple. Thank goodness I have a family that is not too demanding about having to have large meals.

When our daughter Kaily lived here in Egypt with us, I always told her she had her choice of cooking or of doing the clean-up afterwards, and she always chose the cooking. That was great for me, because I would rather do dishes than cook most of the time. But now that our daughter is in the States attending university, I don't have that option.

I do have to say though, that my husband Tim is wonderful in the kitchen. He helps out a lot with the cooking and he is very talented at it. In fact, just last night he helped me make this "Sweet and Sour Chicken" that you see pictured above.

This dish has been a family favorite for many years. Several years ago, I used to make this every Friday night, but eventually we tired of having it once a week, and now it is made just every once in a while. I can't believe we made it last night because the temperature here right now is very hot, and usually we don't cook much while it is so hot. But, we had chicken in the freezer that had to be used before we leave next week to go to the States, so we decided to make it because we hadn't had it for a long time.

Here's the recipe:

Combine in a bowl for marinade:
1 egg beaten 1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. sugar 1 Tbsp. soy sauce

Add 1 lb. chicken to marinade and let stand for 20-30 minutes.

Prepare and set aside:
1 cl. garlic minced 1 green pepper, chopped
1 onion, cut in wedges 3/4 cup pineapple chunks, drained
(reserve the juice)

Combine and set aside:
3 Tbsp. vinegar 1 Tbsp. cornstarch
3 Tbsp. brown sugar 3/4 cup pineapple juice
2 Tbsp. soy sauce

Heat 4 Tbsp. oil in a pan. Add chicken and cook till done. In another pan, stir-fry garlic, peppers, and onions 2-3 minutes. Add pineapple chunks and sauce mixture. Cook just until sauce thickens and clears. Add chicken to sauce and veggies, and heat until bubbling. Best if served immediately with hot rice.
(Onions and Peppers should be partially crisp.)

I usually have to double or triple the ingredients, and you do not have to be precise on the measurements of the veggies. We like to put more onions, peppers, and pineapples than is called for. Also, last night I added carrots because Levi does not like onions or peppers, and this added a veggie he does like. I have to say though, I did not care for the carrots in this dish.

I hope, if someone out there decides to make this dish, you will think of us and also, let me know how you like it.

Monday, June 22, 2009

A Special Outing

As most of you know, Sunday was Fathers' Day in the US, but Egypt does not have a Fathers' Day. Due to a planned activity our son Levi had, we were not able to do anything for Tim on Sunday, but yesterday (Monday) we took him to the nicest Mall in Cairo for a special lunch and day.

In Cairo we have a lot of nice, American restaurants, especially in this Mall, called City Stars. Tim chose to go to Fuddruckers. Some of the restaurants are very comparible to the ones in the States, but Fuddruckers does not. We were a little disappointed in the food we received. Not that the food was bad. It was good, but the portion we received was like that of a kid's portion in the States, but all in all we were satisfied.

Later, we went to our favorite coffee place here, called Costa. They have great coffee, frappacinos and sandwiches. We also have Starbucks here, and we sometimes go there when we just want a simple coffee or American coffee, but they are quite a bit more expensive when you are in the mood for a specialty item.

Even though Egypt does not have Fathers' Day, they do have Mothers' Day. The Mothers' Day here is in March, so, I get the privilege of having two Mothers' Days. For America's Mothers' Day, I chose to go to Ruby Tuesday, and Tim and Levi took me out for a wonderful special dinner there. Can't remember where we went for Egypts'.

I know this is a little late, but I hope all the Fathers out there had a special day last Sunday, and I just wanted to say that I thank God for Tim, and that he is such a great Dad and Husband. I'm very blessed to have him as a husband.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

USA vs Egypt? Follow-up

Well, by now, most of you know that the USA beat Egypt in the Confederations Cup last night. This was so unexpected. The other thing that was so unexpected was that they would score so many goals. They beat Egypt 3-0. Because of the goals they scored and the lack of goals scored by Italy, the USA surprisingly gets to move on in the tournament. I believe the next team they play will be Spain. Again, I really don't know much about soccer (or football) as it is called in most of the world, but I believe those of you who do would say that the USA has no chance. Well, now I will be rooting for the USA. GO USA!!!

USA vs. Egypt?

In the past, I have not been much of a soccer fan. The thing that has made me like soccer better is when my boys, Dillon and Levi, started playing in Youth Soccer leagues here in Egypt. There is a very big American school here that allowed the YSL to play games on their fields every fall. The players ranged in age from very, little tykes around 4 or 5 years old, up the the age of 14 or 15, and our boys played every year for about 5 years. My husband played highschool soccer so he coached for a couple of those years, and through his knowledge of the game I learned alot.

Well, I still don't know a whole lot, but I do know that the USA is playing Egypt tonight in the Confederations Cup, which is a tournament leading up to the World Cup. When I first heard about this particular match, I was in a quandry of which team to root for, but, from hearing what my husband and others have said, I have made up my mind.

It seems that the USA has not been playing particularly well, while on the other hand, Egypt has. From what I understand, the USA doesn't have much of a chance to advance if they win, but with a victory, Egypt could. So, I am rooting for Egypt. Egypt has won the African cup the last two times it was played. It is sure a sight to see here in the streets of Cairo when that happens. There is loud partying until the wee hours of the morning, and the streets are all blocked by dedicated fans who are dancing, shouting, and just making all kinds of noise in support of their team.

So, please do not think that I am being un-patriotic. Think of it as giving a chance to the one who deserves it, and the one who has the most to gain.

If you would like to view the craziness that went on in the streets of Cairo after they won the African Cup 2008, go to the site listed below.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

An Exciting Night

Several years ago Tim surprised our family by telling us he had gotten us front-row seats to on of our favorite singer's concert. Collectively, as a family, we all love Steven Curtis Chapman. For those of you who don't know who he is, he is one of the best, and most popular Contemporary Christian artists out there. To make the surprise even more awesome, a group called "Casting Crowns" and Chris Tomlin were playing the same concert. I wasn't real familiar with "Casting Crowns", but after the concert I was a real fan.

The concert was especially a surprise for our daughter Kaily because she is probably the biggest fan of Steven from our family. You can see a photo above of Kaily with him. Imagine Kaily's surprise when Steven told her that he had noticed her on the front row because she is wearing a "Tigger" T-shirt. He told her that he loved Tigger, and had often been referred to as "Tigger" because of his boundless energy. So Kaily found out that she had this in common with him, because she has always been a "Tigger" fan also.

Both of these individuals, and this group have awesome abilities to write some of the most beautiful, thoughtful, and profound lyrics and music. I could sit and listen to them all day. Each time I hear the lyrics of the songs written by them, they really make me think and reflect on my life and the life of Jesus. Their music really shows their love for Him, and you can tell it is to bring honor and glory to Him rather than theirselves.

Going to this concert and having front-row seats was awesome, but even more awesome was the fact that Tim also had won for us, the chance to go back-stage and meet Steven Curtis Chapman. While back-stage, Christ Tomlin just happened to walk by and we snapped a picture of him with Levi. We didn't get to meet any of the members of "Casting Crowns" because they were in another area signing autographs, and when we finished meeting Steven, the line was still so long we probably would have been in line for another couple of hours.

Above is some of the photos from that special evening.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

End-of-the-Year Party at the Sudanese School

Last night our family attended the end-of-the-year party at the Sudanese School where my husband is Chairman of their school board. I have to say that the Sudanese really do know how to party. It was my first time to attend one of these events, and if one was not at least a little familiar with the Sudanese people, it would be very easy to be overwhelmed.

There was dancing, singing, speeches given, awards given out, and at the end, eating and drinking. The drinking was soda pop, of course.

It was seen as a very successful year. Donations are up, they are moving into a fantastic new building which is much bigger, and we had 4 students graduate from the 8th grade into the 9th. These 4 students are our oldest class, and each year as they graduate we add the next year. You can see a photo of these 4 students above.

The picture of the man and woman standing with my husband is the couple who had the vision and started the school around 9 or 10 years ago. It is a sad occasion for us, but a happy one for them that they will be leaving Egypt this summer and returning to Sudan to start the same kind of school there. What a privilege it has been to know this man and this woman. They have touched so many lives here, but God is going to use them to touch so many more when their new journey begins in their homeland, Sudan.

The highlight of the night for me was when the young girls came out and did a traditional dance from Sudan. These are the girls pictured above with the leaves on their arms.

As you can see by the pictures above, the place was packed. There was standing room only. My husband, son and I had Sudanese kids crawling all over us all night, but we loved it. They are beautiful people, and we have been so privileged to be able to be involved with them.

If you would like to know more about this school, you can check it out at this link:

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Lotus Flower, cont.

Just thought I'd post a picture of my "Lotus Flower" necklace. It's not a very good picture, but it will help you to get the idea of how beautiful it is.

Also, I was thinking about how the "Lotus Flower" was a symbol of "rebirth" in ancient Egypt. Being "reborn" is a significant part of being a Christian. I know this term can be hard to understand, but it simply means "to become a new person". When we as Christians are "reborn", we have simply acknowledged to God that we are a sinner, and we ask Christ to live in and through us, giving us His strength to overcome these sins in our lives. When this happens, we are casting off our old ways, and taking on the characteristics of Christ, Who makes us a new person, as if we were "reborn".

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Lotus Flower

One of my favorite symbols in Egypt is the lotus flower. Any where you go, you can buy something with this beautiful flower on it, whether it be jewelry, linens, or painted pictures depicting Ancient Egypt.

In Egypt you can find three different varieties of the lotus flower: the white, the blue, and the pink which was introduced to Egypt from Persia. The most commonly used lotus in Egyptian art though, was the blue lotus. It is the one that is used as a symbol in Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs.

The lotus flower appeared in legends originating from ancient Egypt. It played an important part in ancient Egyptian religion. The pure white lotus flower, the only plant to fruit and flower simultaneously, grows from the mud at the bottom of ponds and streams. It has 15 or more oval, spreading petals, and a peculiar, flat seedcase at its center.

Because the lotus flower closed and sunk beneath the water at night and then rose and reopened in the morning, it became a symbol of the sun, creation, and rebirth. One of the creation myths says that on the first day, there was a giant lotus flower that rose out of the water and the sun itself came out of this flower.

One of the favorite things I possess is a necklace with a beautiful gold lotus flower. I do not buy much jewelry for myself, but every once in a while my husband will find just the right piece of jewelry for me and buy it for my birthday or for Christmas. I honestly have to say that I wear this necklace more than any other piece of jewelry (excluding my wedding rings, of course) that I have.

You can also buy it in oil form as a perfume here, and I just happen to have some of that also.

So, if you are ever in Egypt, be sure to look for the lotus flower in the form of beautiful jewelry, perfume, or even a beautiful picture for that someone special in your life. You won't be sorry.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Last Day of School

Technically, yesterday was Tim and Levi's last day of school, but today was considered a school day as well. It is a tradition at their school to do an awards' ceremony and a talent show on the last day. All school work was finished as of yesterday. Today was just a day of fun, and also a sad day for saying good-bye to those who will not be here next year. As I stated in an previous post, one of the hardest things about being an expat is that good friends are constantly coming and going. Levi has three teachers that will not be teaching next year, but there are two that will not be in Egypt next year. He also will be saying good-bye to two very special class-mates/friends. One of the friends that is leaving has been in school with Levi for 6 years. The other one is a couple of years older than Levi, but has played a very special role in being a role model for Levi.

In the awards' ceremony, Levi got an award for being the "Most Personable". This award was given to him for being a friend to everyone, being easy to talk to, making people laugh, etc. I'm very proud of him for this.

It will be hard to say good-bye to our special friends who are leaving, but we also can look forward to the new school year next year when God will bring us new people to get to know. We are so blessed to have the opportunity to have so many special people pass through our lives. There is always a reason certain people pass through our lives, even if it is for a short time, and it is always better to have known them for a short time than not to have known them at all.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Friendship and Encouragment

One of the hardest things about choosing to leave your own country and moving to a new one is leaving friends and family. Then, once you get to your new country, you have no friends or family there with you. Usually though, you are so excited about being somewhere new and starting a new life, that it doesn't bother you that much. For me, it took about 6 months for the "honeymoon" stage to wear off, and then it hit me. I'm here for the long haul. This isn't just an extended vacation. I'm going to be away from family and friends for a long time. Now, you can handle this type of situation in a couple of different ways. First of all, you can mope around, feeling sorry for yourself, barricade yourself in your house, and just have an awful attitude about things. As my husband can attest, I have been guilty of this more than once. But recently, while doing a ladies' Bible study with friends, I heard this quote: "Self-loathing is self-worship". Wow! Did that smack me right in the face. I hadn't really ever thought of it that way. If we are busy, just thinking about how depressing our current circumstances are, our mind is on ourself; not on others or on God. Now obviously, another way we can handle the situation is to realize that we have the choice to make life what we want it to be. We are all happier when we have friends and loved ones around us. Life would be pretty meaningless if we were alone all of the time and didn't put forth the effort to make friends or be with the friends we already have.

There is a verse in Proverbs 18:24 that says "A man that hath friends must show himself friendly". So, in other words, if you desire to better your circumstances by having friends, you yourself have to show yourself friendly. You have to take action.

Another Bible verse that is a promise from God that I have seen proven in my own life is found in Mark 10:29-30. It says "......."I assure you that everyone who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or property, for my sake and for the Good News, will receive now in return, a hundred times over......." This verse doesn't necessarily talk about friends, but it does talk about family, and God has certainly given me so many friends here that are as close as family.

I wanted to write this post because I know lots of other people who are living in foreign lands, and I wanted to be an encouragment to them. There is no doubt about it. Whether you are living in a foreign land or not, there are times we feel lonely. We get depressed because there are friends that come in and out of our lives, but we can always know that we can choose to make our circumstances better or worse through our actions.

Also, I was greatly encouraged by a "friend" on Facebook recently. Ida, thank you for your kind words and encouragment to me through your message. The message you sent really does make this blog worth writing.

(The pictures above are just a few of the special friends I have made here. There is definately not room for even a small portion of them.)

Friday, June 5, 2009

Yesterday's Visit

Well, by now, everyone knows that the President of the United States, Barack Obama was here in Cairo yesterday. No, I did not get a personal invitation to go listen to the speech, but I did hear it over the TV.

It was a very different day here, as my son's school was closed for the day, and there were many, many streets shut down as well. Because of security issues, it has been quite a while since a president from the U.S. has visited in Cairo. George Bush came to Egypt, but met with President Mubarak in a place called Sharm el Sheikh. This area is much easier to control, and therefore much safer.

I believe Obama's visit will help relations between this part of the world and the West. Even though Egyptian people are generally very friendly, I have definately, at times, felt the tension caused by the indifference these people feel for America. Obama hit it right on the head when he talked about preconceived ideas Easterners and Westerners have of each other. In the West, when we hear the word "Muslim", or even "Middle Easterner", we automatically think of "terrorist", "violence", etc. Here, in the Middle East, when they think of Western culture, they automatically think all Westerners are "immoral", "loose", "rich", and "frivolous" with their money. I have heard from so many people here that they believe once our kids reach the age of 16 they move out of the house and start living on their own.

I have come to know a lot of people here in Egypt: Muslim and Christian alike. They are people just like us in the West. They worry about their kids. They want the best for their kids. They struggle with some of the same issues we struggle with. They mourn and cry when someone in their family is hurt or killed, and they rejoice at marriages, births of new babies, and happy times.

I have been blessed to be able to see and learn these things for myself, and because of my personal experiences am able to see these people as real, loving people, wanting from life the same things as you and I. They are, after all, created from the same God that created me. He put in all people the same feelings, aspirations, and potential.

I truly hope I have not gone in a wrong direction with this post, but I truly believe most of the world's problems are due to wrong perceptions about others. If we could only place ourselves in other peoples' shoes and experience their lives for a day, I think the world would truly be a better place.

There are many passages in the Bible that tell us to love others and tells of doing acts of kindness for others. We are to not only to love our neighbors, but we are to love our enemies as well. The Bible also says that if we so much as "hate" a person, we have committed murder in our hearts.

If you are interested in reading some of these passages, some of them are listed here:
Luke 10:25-37, Matthew 7:12, Matthew 22:39, Matthew 25:34-40, Romans 12:15-18,
1 John 3:15

I hope you might take the time to look these verses up and that they give you something to think about.

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Sudanese School

A couple of years ago, my husband was approached by a man who was on the board of a Sudanese school. He was an expat too, and was getting ready to leave Egypt. The board needed another man to take his place. Well, this man asked Tim if he would be interested, and that is how it all began. Tim is now the chairman of the board and is very active in helping to keep this Sudanese school open.

There are several Sudanese school here in Egypt. All of them are kept open by donations, or are run by church sponsorship. The school my husband is involved with is run totally off of donations. We have been very blessed within the last couple of years to have several big charity organizations step in to help. One organization gives enough money for the kids to have a nice breakfast every morning. If they did not get this breakfast, most to all of these kids would come to school hungry.

The teachers and staff of the school are all Sudanese, so along with giving these children an education, the school gives opportunity for jobs to the Sudanese. There are around 275 kids enrolled in the school this year, and it is predicted there will be over 300 next year. The school will be moving from a single floor building to a seven floor building this summer. This gives them a lot of room for expansion.

Another benefit to these children besides giving them an education is that it keeps them off of the street and out of the gangs. There is a problem with different Sudanese gangs here, and just like in the States, these gangs try to recruit kids into them. Getting into these gangs means nothing but trouble and danger to the kids.

When we first came to Egypt we really had no idea that the Sudanese even existed here, but now we have many friends among the Sudanese. The kids at the school will just melt your heart when you look into their big eyes. These kids live in conditions that most of us cannot even imagine, but somehow they manage to keep a smile on their face, and they always manage to keep a smile on my face as well.

If you would like to learn more about this school you can go their web link at: