Tag Archives: ClearingCustoms Blog

Family Memories in February and Best Brussels Sprouts

This year, February marked a time of meditating on my family’s heritage. Brody and I reached the point of being willing to part with a fairly large electronic device from the 1960’s which I had purchased in an estate sale while living in Kansas. The beautiful and (still working) record player by Magnavox was actually two good-sized pieces of furniture since the second speaker was detached from the playing unit and also served as storage for records.

We didn’t take a picture of the player and speaker since a local electronics dealer was willing to buy them sight unseen. Housed in lovely wooden cabinets, the player and speaker were both beautiful to behold and useful for playing the old records I had received from both of my grandmas. However, Brody and I thought it wise to sell it while still in working condition. We did not want to spend time trying to find the parts for the old electrical tube-style components when the time came to fix it.

I had a set of records from the collection I received from my dad’s mom which I still had not listened to. I wanted to hear this particular set before we sold the record player since this set of records played an important role in my family’s heritage:

Record Set

As a teenager, my dad was often tasked with watching out for his younger brother. Uncle Phil really enjoyed listening to this account of how God used the lives and deaths of Pete Fleming, Jim Elliot, Ed McCully, Nate Saint and Roger Youderian to reach a group of people in Ecuador who had not yet heard the Gospel. Both my dad and Uncle Phil remember listening to this account over and over. Both of them became missionaries, due in part, to the examples of these five men. I had heard from my dad and Uncle Phil about this record set and the impact it had on their lives, but I had never taken the time to listen to it until just recently. When I think of how God used my experiences as a missionary kid to shape me, I am thankful for the impact God allowed this record set to have in my dad’s life.

Now and then, I search Google for “Elliot” or “Saint” to check on how the widow of Jim Elliot is doing and how the son of Nate Saint is faring. Recently, I found an interesting blog, ClearingCustoms, with a little update on both. This blog documents very well the sources used in writing the article, in case readers are interested in learning more about the lives and ministries of the Saint and Elliot families.

The above blog refers to Shadow of the Almighty The Life and Testament of Jim Elliot, by Elisabeth Elliot. In early February, we discovered Brody’s copy of this in a box in our garage, so I finally read it.

I was challenged by the lives and devotion of all the missionaries mentioned both on the record set and in Shadow of the Almighty. I also was encouraged by the epilogues quoted in the above-mentioned Clearing Customs blog.

My parents served the Piapoco tribe in Colombia as linguists and translators for most of the years in which they lived in Colombia. My parents’ main focus was to translate the New Testament into Piapoco and teach them to read and write. Early in my childhood, my family would travel to the Piapoco village two to three times per year and live with our Piapoco friends for four to six weeks at a time.

Living in their village during these times helped me know from a young age how simple life can be. When we stayed in the village, we lived as much like the Piapocos as possible. For example, we lived in a house made of mud and palm leaves,

Our Little House on the Colombian Prairie

my parents cooked over a wood fire,

Our Simple Kitchen

and we washed our clothes in a bucket with a toilet plunger to provide the agitation. Using the stove above was easier on my parents’ backs than using a fire on the ground level, and the bucket and toilet plunger system was easier than hauling our clothes down to the creek and back.

Clothes Washing Brigade

Washing Clothes in the Kitchen

My Piapoco friends had very, very few material possessions and few comforts that are so common in the the U.S. But, they still found joy in life.

Fun Times with Friends

Now and then, when I find myself tempted to complain about my life, I remember how difficult life is for most of the people of the world.

Dish Washing Time

Simply having clean, running water in my kitchen so I can cook and wash dishes is an unheard of luxury for the majority of the world.

And now for the connection to February! My parents recognized that living in the Piapoco village meant my brother and I would leave some of our luxuries behind at the missions center for those weeks. So, they instituted some traditions during our stays in the village so that, along with the difficulties unique to the visit, we also had some special, fun traditions unique to our time in the village.

Perhaps my favorite special tradition was to celebrate Valentine’s Day every other Sunday while we were in the village. All four of us made Valentine’s Day cards to exchange. My mom reused two heart-shaped cardboard candy boxes, one red, and one pink, both from Russell Stover, each “Valentine’s Sunday” to deliver a special candy bar to my brother and me. So, my brother and I grew up with multiple Valentine’s celebrations throughout the year. Perhaps that’s why both he and I still enjoy celebrating special days multiple times! Since he and his wife were matched on eharmony on the 17th of April in 2007, my brother celebrated the 17th of every month after that by giving her a gift!

Now that I’m married to Brody, we have the additional celebration of his birthday on Valentine’s Day. The first year that we were married, I didn’t want Valentine’s Day to overshadow his birthday. So, taking strips of paper and my calligraphy pen, I wrote out 25 reasons I loved him and then hid them, with a little bit of candy, all over the house and the car over the course of several days leading up to his birthday. His enthusiasm over finding the notes showed me that I had stumbled onto a great yearly tradition for us. Since then, I’ve planned the 14 Days of Birthday Celebrations from February 1 through the 14th each year.

Birthday and Valentine's Celebrations

As his diet has changed, I’ve had to prepare different goodies for him instead of buying him candy. One year, I developed the Birthday Danish recipe (page 164 in A Recipe for Survival.) At some point, I’ll take pictures of this recipe and post them; for now, here’s a much more healthful recipe….  🙂

BEST Brussels Sprouts

BEST Brussels Sprouts

Your taste buds will rave!

1) Wash and halve the sprouts.

2) Melt enough coconut oil in a metal pie plate or something similar to coat both the sprouts and the pan.

3) Add the sprouts to the pan; stir to coat them in the oil. Add salt, freshly ground black pepper and 1 Tbsp lime juice.

4) Broil the sprouts until they are the desired color, stirring and turning them from time to time for even browning.

5) Enjoy the BEST Brussels Sprouts!