Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Happy Vesak Day!!

Happy Vesak (Wesak) Day!  This past week there have been many different celebrations to honor Buddha's Birthday culminating with today which is the official national holiday for Vesak.  We have enjoyed the monks chanting for the past three days.  Their sounds so amazing that I endured the heat so I could have my windows open and balcony door open.  I am sitting on the balcony and the celebration still continues. 

We participated in the Three Steps and a Bow ceremony last night.  The intention was to send light to all the victims of the Japanese earthquakes.  Silly me thought that it would be three steps and a bow and be over......the ceremony went on for hours.  Our family lasted only 30 minutes ;).  I believe we were the only westerners in the whole place....  We didn't understand a word but it was a beautiful idea. 

Today we went and participated in the kids workshops and were able to make t-shirts.  Great fun had by all!

Main alter where the monks spent hours and hours chanting and using all sorts of instruments to compliment their tones.  It isn't the best picture but you get the idea.

Greta getting help with her Chinese characters..... They said, "Happy Birthday Buddha"

I caught ME at the alter with the other kids bowing to Buddha.....

It cracked me up that Greta wrote, "I love the Buddaha"

It is hard to see but this is the Three Steps and a Bow ceremony.  They went around the track several times.  This is the view from our balcony.
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Monday, May 16, 2011

Scenes From Our Hood

Many of you have been asking for pictures of our apartment.  Our boat ship comes on Thursday and after I get our home set up a little more I will post pictures of our place.  In the mean time I have taken a few pictures of the condo grounds and the hawker stalls and shops directly behind our condo.  I will take more of the neighborhood and apartment soon!

Pool in the center of the condos.  Ours is to the left of the frame.

I still can't get over the beautiful, lush, and tropical environment of Singapore.

Path to the lift.

I was trying to get a picture of the cat.... wild cats everywhere.  YUCK.  Typically not on the grounds of our condo though....

Back gate leading to the hawker stalls and shops

You can go this way......

Or that way........

Our FAVORITE Arab place

My juice man

Makes you want to smoke huh??  M said that the FDA will begin putting labels on cigarettes as early as next year that are similar!!

Kiss me baby

McDonald's has kept my kids alive (kidding).

My kids never tire of saying "EWWWW" when ever they see the seaweed shaker package for the fries. 

I couldn't get a good photo of the Malay women around our building (for a variety of reasons) so here is a sample of all the shops around our place that cater to them.

Wet Market

Vesek Day Sweets... (more on that tomorrow)

My favorite hardware store.... Let me tell you they really do have anything I can think of even if it doesn't look that way!

The Lottery or "Pools" are really big in Singapore.  People wait on line for hours to play.......

My kids beg endlessly to ride on these crappy rides that are all around the neighborhood....

Where in the World is Jonette?

I took myself on a date last Saturday to Little India and a movie.  Here are a few pictures from my adventure.  The best part of my date was the movie.... I went to see the French movie Des hommes et des dieux or  Of Gods and Men.     The movie centers on the monastery of Tibhirine, where nine Trappist monks lived in harmony with the largely Muslim population of Algeria,  until seven of them were captured and assassinated in 1996 during the Algerian Civil War.  It is the most compelling movie I have ever seen.  My girl friend said that when she saw the movie she, "felt bathed in holiness."  I have to agree.  It made me question my faith and devotion to God and really compelled me to want to be a more devoted follower seeking after the divine.  It also caused me to question my willingness to consecrate all for my God and, even more,  what exactly does that mean for me?  No answers yet, exactly, but I will keep thinking about it anyway!

HAPPY Family Outing to Bukit Batok Nature Reserve

M had a day off last Monday and we were determined to have a family outing despite really just needing to call uncle and put the kids to bed early!  Here are some snap shots of our "fun" outing!

The MANY faces of G

There is never any doubt how she feels about something (I am not sure where she gets this)

In G's defense... she was being asked to walk straight up the mountain...in the blazing heat

Happy family at the top of the trail

What she is saying is "I LOVE you Mommy"

The whole reason we had gone to the nature reserve was that A wanted to see monkey's in Singapore before she turned 8 (May 30)  we knew there were some in the nature reserve.  After hiking for an hour an half in search of monkeys we gave up and went back down.  On our way through the parking lot to the bus we found the darn monkeys.

If you look close the monkey on the left has a baby attached to it's tummy!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Work of Creation

The title of my post today comes from a talk entitled Happiness Your Heritage.  It was given by Pres. Dieter F. Uchtdorf one of the members of the presidency of my church.  I bring it up because in his address to the women of our church he states this, "The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul. No matter our talents, education, backgrounds, or abilities, we each have an inherent wish to create something that did not exist before."

I was reminded of this talk as I lay face down on my bed this afternoon :)  G woke me up with a raging fever, I was feeling disappointed my day would not go as planned, and M is in Jakarta (work) for the next five days spanning over Mother's Day.  I am having a very difficult time finding my rhythm with home school.  I am still recovering from the whirlwind of moving here and add on top of that becoming one of the main sources of education for my children (I won't even mention the loss of freedom and financial independence) it causes me to want to lay in my bed all day.

I finally looked at my watch around three and decided that the day could not be a total wash.  I said a prayer and asked for the will and guidance to move.  Sounds silly but my answer was, "just get up and do something.  ANYTHING."  So up I got, showered and then went to surf the Internet... Hee hee hee.  At least I was out of bed.  I found myself looking at a friends blog.  She had just thrown an elaborate Birthday Party for her daughter.  As I looked over the pictures the talk came to my mind.  I realized that in order to get out of my funk I needed to create something and beautify my surroundings.

I have several friends that I feel my spirit soar when I enter their home.  My dear friend of 15+ years has an artistic eye that makes every thing around her beautiful.  When I enter her home I stare at every detail she has lovingly created.  They don't have a lot of money but she has taken what she has and created a very sacred space.  I have another friend who has an eye for beauty.  She creates parties (and actually loves it) for her children that should be in a magazine.  She dresses with flair, and her home is also a place of beauty.  Yet another friend has a home that feels like a holy temple.  She has great style but what she has more of is an abiding spirit and belief in God that permeates every space in her home.  I see books, art, and words that reflect her faith.  She lost her husband last year in her home and that combined with the spirit that the two of them have together make her home a holy temple to me.

All of these women (and many many more) leave me with a spirit of awe when I enter their home.  They have taken that, "deepest of human yearnings" and created spaces that I love to visit.

With these friends in mind, I decided to do a little creating today to lift my spirits....  It's not much but at least I am not still prostrate on my bed.  I had to use unfamiliar products, no measuring cups, mixing bowls, or rolling pin but.... they taste pretty darn good .  We can't get tortilla's here and it was the only ingredient we needed to have my kids favorite meal!!  Taco's!
Here is to a better day tomorrow!

I can't even get my drink of choice in it's purest form :)  I guess that is a good thing!

My rolling pin :)

Tortillas in a Wok!  It can be done!

Finished Creation... Get the recipe here :Chewy Tortillas