October 30, 2009

Celebrate Every Day!

Orjaga eja.
Orna eja.
Orjaga eja gu mod.
Orna eja gu efen mod.
Orna jera orjaga gega gu gegan mod.

This is a page from one of the early primers I made to use in teaching the Meyah people to read.  See October 3 Post  for information on my missionary work in Irian Jaya, Indonesia.

The Bible was in the process of being translated into the Meyah Language.  The people needed to be able to read these scriptures.

The primers used words and pictures of  Meyah kinds-of-things like sweet potatos, bows and arrows, pigs, cooking fires, and village houses.

The books told stories about everydayish events.  They told about a woman going to her garden to work for the day, or lighting her fire for cooking and warmth.  One book told of a man hunting for a wild pig, or making a bow or arrow.

We were located in a mountainous area.  Meya-speaking villages were spread for miles and miles from the central village of Testega.  So we had teacher-learner classes for a few Meyahs who traveled to Testega from the surrounding villages.  They came to learn how to teach their own villagers to read and write their own Meyah Language.

Some of those fellows lived a three or four days journey away.  They climbed trails that wove in and out, and up and down the mountains.  They balanced their way over logs across streams, and occasionally cut their way through grown-over brush.

In Testega, they worked to improve their own ability to read and write.  They also learned how to teach others to read and write by practicing on one another in class.  Then they returned to their own villages to teach their people to read and write in their tribal Meyah language.

I  was just thinking about how I used a small manual typewriter to type the books on stencils.  Later I spent hours turning the handle of the old mimeograph machine to duplicate the books. It was simply the way we had to do things.

Back then, I never even dreamed of the convenience and possibilities the internet would eventually give me.  Why, I can just do a simple search, and  get 2,759,354  responses!  I can order anything I want just by sitting at my computer and ordering it on line.  I can even carry that computer with me!  I can shop for birthday gifts without leaving my house.  And Christmas shopping has never been easier.

The Meyahs would certainly never have believed all this.  But then, I'm not sure I would have, either!

October 27, 2009

"Koom Essa" or "Come Eat"

My heritage is Pennsylvania Dutch. (See blog post  Too Soon Old And Too Late Smart! ) We like to cook and eat!  Our recipes are simple and hearty.  Many recipes have been passed down from mother to daughter, either by word of mouth or handwritten on paper scraps such as the backs of torn-off calendar pages.  Ingredients might be measured by "handfulls", "pinches", "enough to sweeten", or "salt to taste."

So, "Koom essa," or "Come eat".   This is how you may be invited to a Pennsylvania Dutch meal where there is plenty of good food!

(photo by Cathy Clapper,  Dreamstime.com)

Red beet eggs are a popular pickled  Pennsylvania Dutch food.  My family includes them in the menu at every family gathering, even our traditional Easter and Christmas dinners.

Recipe for Red Beet Eggs
2 cans red beets and juice
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup sugar
6 hard-boiled eggs, whole with shells taken off

Heat the beets, vinegar, and sugar together until sugar dissolves.  Add the eggs to this mixture; the juice needs to cover the eggs.

Make this recipe at least one day early so the eggs absorb the pickled taste and turn a deep red beet color.

October 18, 2009

Too Soon Old And Too Late Smart!

I grew up in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, also known as "Amish Country."  The Amish are Pennsylvania Dutch, but not all Pennsylvania Dutch are Amish.

"Dutch" does not mean they are Dutch people from the Netherlands.  Rather, the German word for German is "Deutsch."  So they are really Pennsylvania Germans or Deutsch who somehow ended up being called Pennsylvania Dutch!  The Pennsylvania Dutch today are descendants from German-speaking immigrants.

I've been thinking about PA Dutch sayings or expressions I heard or spoke as a child.  However, when I left home at age eighteen, I quickly learned to change some of my words!  You'll understand why!

It wonders me . . .
Outen the lights.
I get so befuddled.
She writes so fancy like.
I can't make her out.
Eat yourself full.

And, of course, I could always entertain people by telling them some old stand-by PA Dutch idioms or proverbs.

We get too soon old and too late smart.
Kissin' wears out . . . cookin' don't!
No woman can be happy with less than seven to cook for!
A plump wife and a big barn never did any man any harm!
What's the use of a pretty table if there's nothing on it?

Can you add any Pennsylvania Dutch expressions?  Please comment.

October 14, 2009

Disgustingly Funny

I am involved in cat rescue.  One Sunday morning I was at an Apartment Building because of a cat situation.   I drove into the parking lot and got out of my car.

Immediately I saw a man running out of his apartment.  He kept on looking back as he ran.  My first thought was that someone had a gun and I should get right back in my car and get out of there fast!  But I was sort of mesmerized and just stood there watching.  My feet oddly seemed to be glued to the ground.

Then I saw huge, black billows of thick smoke shooting up from a car.  The car was parked next to some trees, a wooden fence, and the building.  Suddenly the car burst into flames.  It was quite impressive in a scary sort of way. 

While my feet were still glued to the ground, I saw a woman coming out of the same apartment the man had run from.  She was carrying a baby in one arm;  with her other hand, she was dragging a toddler who could barely walk.  AND she was trying to coax a slightly older child, who was lingering behind, to quickly come with her.

I glanced back at the man, who (by this time) was safely far away from the burning car.  He was calling to the woman, telling her to hurry!  But did he budge from his safe spot to help her with the children?  Oh, no.

It would have been funny if it wasn't so disgusting.  As a good friend told me, "That's the kind of stuff you see on movies."

  (photo by Dean Michell, Dreamstime.com)

So what Christian movie titles could be connected to this cowardly father and man?  How about 
Veggie Tales/Where's God When I'm Scared?
Satan Never Sleeps
Piece of my Mind
Second Chances
The Big Question
Terminating Toxic Tonic of Disrespect
Worst Selfish Cowards  (I just made this one up!)

And what movie could be applied to the dear mother trying to get her children to safety?  How about Left Behind.

Do you have more suggestions of movies that could be connected to this worst selfish coward?  Please comment!

October 4, 2009

Fine and Feathery

We were learning about animal adaptations.  My second grade girls were quite indignant when I explained that it is the male birds who have the most beautiful, colorful feathers. But then I explained that the female birds had duller colors because they had the important job of hatching the eggs.  They needed to blend into the environment to help keep the baby birds out of danger.  That made the second grade girls smile and sit up a little straighter!  (photo by Andrew Buckin, Dreamstime)

Other animals may wear scales, skin, hard shells, or fur, but only birds have feathers. 

A tiny hummingbird has from 1,000 to 1,650 feathers.  (photo by Rinusbaak, Dreamstime)

Songbirds the size of chickadees have as many as 4,500.

But swans top them all--they have more than 25,000 feathers!

Now at this point, I can't decide if  I want to tell you some more serious facts about feathers or some sort-of-dumb bird jokes that you've probably heard before, but can still laugh. (or not!)  So YOU decide.  The serious facts are in green print.  Skip them to get to the jokes!

Feathers range in size from 0.05 inches on a bird's eyelid to 5 feet long tail feathers on a peacock. Wow!

If a bird loses a feather, another one grows in its place.  They grow fast, too, as much as a quarter inch or more a day!  Feathers become worn and are replaced about once a year through a process called molting.

We bundle up with coats, hats, and mittens.  But a bird's feathers regulate its body temperature.  That's called thermoregulation.  Fluffing their feathers traps many tiny pockets of air to hold in body heat and keeps out the cold.  In hot weather, the bird presses its feathers close to the body to eliminate the insulating air pockets so body heat can escape.

A Few Sort-of-Dumb Bird Jokes:

What do you call a crate of ducks?  a box of quackers

What does a duck like to eat with soup?  quackers
What birds spend a lot of time on their knees?  birds of prey

Why did the chicken cross the basketball court?  He heard the referee call fouls.

What did the sick chicken say?  "I have people pox."

Who do seagulls live near the sea?  Because if they lived near the bay, they'd be called bagels.

Come on, smile just a little bit!  You know you want to!