Friday, November 26, 2010

Ambulance Ride

Ryan took his first ambulance ride last night. He has a badly sprained ankle but he is doing well otherwise. We both went to the gym last night to work out and about 20 minutes later one of the gym employees came and notified me that "my husband was very injured". Turns out he was playing 1 on 1 with his good friend Mark and landed wrong on his ankle. He heard a pop which is never a good thing so they called the ambulance and rushed him to the on-campus clinic. After x-rays and ice it turns out he sprained it.

The whole story (because we are in Saudi Arabia after all) would not be complete without some hilarious and ridiculous moment happening in the midst of all this. SO...as it turns out the clinic does not adequately supply crutches for a man that is 6'2". Instead they handed Ryan two small hand crutches that were literally meant for a 9 year old child. It was RIDICULOUS seeing him try to use these. I did have to get a little fired up to request a wheelchair at least to get him to the curb! Oh Saudi Arabia...

For now Ryan is resting, icing, elevating and loves being babied. I think he will be just fine, especially on his tiny crutches.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving!

Point of View

By Shel Silverstein

Thanksgiving dinner's sad and thankless
Christmas dinner's dark and blue
When you stop and try to see it
From the turkey's point of view.
Sunday dinner isn't sunny
Easter feasts are just bad luck
When you see it from the viewpoint
Of a chicken or a duck.
Oh how I once loved tuna salad
Pork and lobsters, lamb chops too
'Til I stopped and looked at dinner
From the dinner's point of view.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE! We dedicate this poem to Tyler & Anna Decker who we're sure have thought about the turkey's point of view this year-we love you both!

Our Thanksgiving Day plans are very busy and exciting this year. Our first celebration together will involved mashing over 50 potatoes, having dinner with 40ish people and being surrounded by sweet community in Saudi Arabia! The Americans on campus are hosting a LARGE traditional dinner for all the non-Americans-they just have to show up and get stuffed. We're having two turkeys, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, homemade cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, pinto beans and cornbread, sweet potato casserole, SEVEN pies and one cheesecake. This will be feast to end all feasts!! More important than the food will be who we are with and Who we are praising. This is a unique opportunity to learn how cultures and traditions merge to give praise to God for everything He has done for us. Above all else we are excited to learn and thank the Lord on Thanksgiving Day with people from all over the world!

I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving.
-Psalm 69:30

After lunch; rest; after dinner walk a mile.
-Arab Proverb

Friday, November 19, 2010

Pictures from China!

Here are a few of our pictures, enjoy!

Speechless? So were we when we saw this was out hotel balcony view!!


We DID get to experience autumn-this was on our long hike!


Hilarious old man rowing on his bamboo raft


Our bamboo raft driver w/ Ryan drinking the local beer


Traditional rice noodle and pork breakfast always eaten with chopsticks. DELICIOUS!


Ryan and I in front of the karst mountains


Cow crossing?


Every meal is served with green tea, we got very used to delicious Chinese tea!


The Hong Kong city line from the top of a mountain

Thursday, November 18, 2010

我们从中国回来 (We are back from China)




Long time no post! We are home from busy, wonderful China! It was hard to leave actually but very nice to get home to our apartment and routine. So far China and Hong Kong are definitely sitting near the top of our list of favorite places we've traveled so far.

The last half of the trip was the best part (after the conference in the city). If you ever need to escape the real world for a few days go to the place we went: Yangshuo Mountain Retreat in Guilin, China (http://www.yangshuomountainretreat.com). I don't know how to adequately describe it other than: breath-taking, authentic, refreshing and serene. That little flip video did a great job capturing our hilarious bamboo rafting adventure and the scenery was just indescribable! We spent our days hiking through the karst mountains (those are the huge rocky formations covered in trees you can barely see through the mist), biking over 20 miles into a little village for market day and spending time outside soaking up fresh air.

We learned a few thing in China:

1) You can definitely make it through a country knowing just a few words of the native language as long as you get creative in expressing what you want and being very very polite and helpless looking. Example: On occasion Ryan could be found theatrically pointing towards his groin and making a squatting position when telling someone he needed a bathroom. Hilarious!

2) We learned what it meant to be hospitable and an excellent host to guests. Our friend Li Jien from China was with us for some of our stay and was the ultimate tour guide. He is the epitome of generosity. He bought us dinner, paid for our bus tickets much to our protest, treated me to a Starbucks and graciously translated all our needs into Chinese. We want to host people in our country like he did for us in his. Li Jien taught us how to graciously serve with love and kindness backed with the desire to build stronger community.

3) Culture shock is very real. A little story for you: We decide to spend the afternoon in a bustling, very authentic Chinese market where no one speaks English. As we are walking through the aisles crammed with sweets, produce and other various goods we spot what looks like a whole roasted pig. Despite immediate suspicion based on its appearance, we tried to convince ourselves for awhile that it was in fact a pig. Um, no it was a dog. A DOG! We knew this given the long straight tail and very obvious dog-feet. (insert cringe). No wait it gets worse. Later down another aisle Ryan announces loudly, "Yes, it was a dog!" I timidly peek around the corner to see a black lab very dead on the floor with his pink tongue rolled out of his mouth. I went into a bit of shock and stumbled away dizzy, promptly bursting into tears in front of many confused Chinese people. From this we learned that culture shock is REAL and that our culture is not the only way of doing things. I have no judgement for the Chinese diet, but I was more shocked that not everyone sees dogs as inedible. The bigger problem here is that I have a more narrow view than I thought of specific issues foreign to me and I need to learn how to accept cultures different from my own. This I struggle with.

4) Finally we learned that we will serve the Lord anywhere, especially China! We love the people and we both connect well with friends from China. The cities provide endless adventures but best of all there are mountains and beauty here (unlike a place we currently live). Psalm 148 is all about praising the Lord for His creation and that was our "China Psalm" and worship for this trip.

So there are a few things what we learned and continue to learn as we process this trip. More pictures to come in the next few days and can't wait to share more of this privilege and blessing of a trip with you!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Morning Glory China Muffins



We're flying to China tomorrow for a week! China is strongly on our hearts and we are excited for our first time in Asia. We have many friends from China so it will be incredible to share out experience with them after hearing so much about it. The main purpose for the trip is so Ryan can attend a KAUST sponsored academic conference on sustainable infrastructures. After that we will go to the mountains of China for a much needed break from the desert and sight-seeing. We will miss out on the Great Wall this time, but that just gives us more incentive to go back again!

Here's how the Decker's traveling relationship usually works: Ryan plans the trips, itinerary, finds fun places to see and works out details while I, Carly, plan the snacks! This is an important task that I do not take lightly! So for China, the main snack attraction is...

Morning Glory Muffins!!

Ingredients

1 cup evaporated sugar cane (or regular sugar)

2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup shredded, sweetened coconut

3/4 cup organic Raisins

1 large organic granny smith apple, peeled and grated

1 cup (8 ounces) crushed pineapple, drained

2 cups grated organic carrots

1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts

3 large eggs

1 cup vegetable oil (or substitute with applesauce)

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.
Sift or whisk together the sugar, flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Add the coconut, raisins, apple, pineapple, carrots, and nuts, and stir to combine.
In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs with the oil and vanilla. Pour into the bowl with the dry ingredients and blend well.
Spoon the batter into a buttered muffin tins, filling each to the brim. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool muffins in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to finish cooling.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Why I Deleted My Facebook Account



It's over. I've deleted my facebook account though it will not be "officially" terminated for another 14 days. Thanks for that last string of hope Zuckerberg. I have spent a lot of time thinking about why I do not want or need a FB account.

Top Reasons for Deletion
-My data and information is not truly private
-It is a waste of time (ex: farmville??? mafia wars???)
-FB is not oriented towards God but towards a societal norm
-Did I mention the time waster one yet?!
-They were using me. FB is the company and they sell ads. They make money off of me. I was another statistic for them to make some major cash. I served as an upaid employee.
-FB practices some questionable business ethics-I want disassociation from their brand
-Can I really call 953 people my friends? I want to pour into REAL relationships.
-FB proves to be an easy temptation to avoid getting meaningful work done

"Having turned inward in a search for meaning, we turn outward in a search for direction, scanning others for the social signals they emit regarding what is in and what is out, what is desirable and what is not. . . . This person is oriented not to inner values but to other people. It is in the peer group that acceptance is found and outcasts are named. . . . Where once people took pride in accomplishments and in their character, [they] think only of how they stand with others. . . . Once people worked to achieve tangible ends, to accomplish things. Now, such accomplishments are of far less significance than one's "image." Once people worked; now they manipulate. Once people sweated; now they seduce. Once people wished to be respected, to have their accomplishments recognized; now they wish to be envied, regardless of whether they are envied for anything they have actually accomplished"
-David F. Wells in his book titled "No Place for Truth"

I feel totally solid in deleting FB. For those people that keep it I hope it serves as a useful and encouraging tool in your life for purpose and authentic community. No judgment here, I only know why I got rid of mine. Instead of spending my time staring at a screen and disconnected from REAL people I dig hanging out with I'll instead spend my time doing even more of these activities that I love:
Developing authentic community, time in God's Word, hanging out with friends, being outside, playing guitar, drawing, writing letters/postcards, praying, serving my husband, planning a surprise for someone, baking, drinking coffee at the library, learning something new, volunteering, having friends over, writing a Bible Study, and watching Nacho Libre.

I am so glad to walk away from the cyberworld and back into the real world.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Small Groups

Hola amigos! We're still riding the waves of adrenaline, excitement and sheer awe of Ryan's new job!! HWI works heavily in Latin America so Spanish speaking employees (and spouses!) are highly desired. Hence the blog greeting and I'm sure you'll see more of what we attempt to learn in the months to come. Ryan actually just translated an entire email update from a pastor in one of the countries sent to the COO and employees that was in Spanish!

For now we wanted to share a picture of our beloved small group. This groups meets every Sunday night for worship, teaching, community and always delicious food. Believers in the picture represent America, England, Uganda, Nigeria, Mexico and South Korea. This is just one of many small groups that meet which pumps us up! At KAUST we are allowed to meet with others to practice our religion in the confinements of our home but we must avoid anything public. Fair enough Saudi Arabia. Outside the protection of our sugar mama (aka KAUST) it is illegal to proselytize, have a Bible, and freedom of religion is non-existent. Hope that didn't dishonor the country or people we love here-just stating the facts. Thank you Lord and KAUST for giving us freedom! We love what it means to meet with people from all over the world-this isn't your ordinary western model of church! We're grateful for 6 more weeks of meeting with our "family" here and then starting an adventure in Denver!



Ahora bien, el Señor es el Espíritu; y donde está el Espíritu del Señor, hay libertad.
-2 Corintios 3:17

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Employment!

Ryan is officially a full time worker! We talked to the CEO and COO of Healing Waters International last night and they shared the great news that they wanted Ryan to join the team! Wow we are praising and thanking God for this! Only He could have allowed Ryan to get his dream job with such an amazing company. Here's the really cool thing: Ryan and his best friend Marc both applied for jobs in August with the company. We were always under the impression that they could only hire one of them. But God rearranged the company and worked it out that they BOTH got hired! Different positions but they will be working together.

Ryan starts work January 1, 2011 and we get back to Denver hopefully on the 25th of December. Lot's of changes happening now but we couldn't be more excited and grateful for direction.

Check out company and there vision here: http://www.healingwatersintl.org/


Pic: A woman in the Dominican republic helped by HWI water systems


I will proclaim the name of the LORD. Oh, praise the greatness of our God!
-Deuteronomy 32:3

Monday, November 1, 2010

A Very Saudi Halloween



Our costume planning skills were top notch this year. In case it isn't completely obvious, Ryan is a "gangsta" sleeved out in fake tattoos and Carly is a rock star. We also had a ninja, janitor, KAUST apartment and "bad-ass". Halloween isn't a huge thing here but the school did throw a party that we missed but heard it was fun. At our hang out we all watched Monster's Inc and stuffed ourselves on sugar and snacks. Not your typical Halloween when it's 85 degrees outside, but great nonetheless! Happy Halloween!

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