Our Time in the Sun

My uncle John published his first novel this past year (he tells us he's working on his second). My dad gave me a copy for Christmas, and I just finished wolfing it down. Quite a fun tale, and his son (my cousin) did the cover artwork you see in the photo. It was interesting to know my uncle and see how his own experiences showed through so much into his tale. I think my favorite part was when the protagonist takes part in a little humorous interlude, which just happens to be the same story my dad has told me for years about my grandfather. =) It is available for online purchase. Thanks, John, for investing your retirement in something so entertaining for me and also full of family legacy.


We did, in fact, celebrate Christmas

Before we get too far into 2008, we should at least make mention of the end of 2007. We worked Christmas, before heading down to TN for McLaughlin festivities. For our gifts to each other, we got tickets to see Over The Rhine at a relatively small folk venue in Ann Arbor. General admission, and we sat on the second row. Very cool. Then, on Christmas Eve, we had a fab dinner (obtained with a Whole Foods Gift card) of crab-stuffed portabello mushrooms (you don't even know...) and of course the obligatory Christmas mulled mead.

TN was lovely with the family, who graciously held off until the 27th when we could be there, before having all the "real" holiday celebrations. We're reposting the McLaughlin Christmas photo here, a composite since there wasn't much in the way of a good chance with us all together this year. Note that we are the only couple not showing affection to each other in the picture. We would like to here state that this is a completely cultural phenomenon, such actions being taboo in Bengali culture. This does not represent any cooling of our affections as we head into our third year of marriage. We did get to visit Sami and Jonathan down in Chattanooga, and saw Curt and Chris Chaffin as well, home from their wild and crazy adoption adventure.


North Dakota Makes Liars Of Us (Again...)

Forgive us. We have lied to you. All this long while, our profile stated that we lived in the only town in the US starting with Yps-. I tried to verify this on Mapquest and found nothing. Eric Selle (Rachel's brother) pointed out that North Dakota also has a town called Ypsilanti. To which we reply, "We don't care." When I was in high school, my friends and I played in a garage band called "Helm's Deep", and were contacted by these Canadians in a band by the same name. They wanted us to change our name, because they had put out a couple records and obviously were headed for the big time. We didn't change our name. However, for the sake of honesty, we'll have to modify our profile somehow. The only problem being, there's really nothing else to say about us...


Bread of the Month Club (AKA Naan-vana)

Eric and I have come to the realization that, with our future plans, many things we love in this life may not be very readily available to us come two years from now. I’m sure we’ll continually be surprised at the availability of things in Africa, but best to plan ahead. So, for example, if we cannot live without Indian food, we should figure out how to cook it ourselves. And there are many bread-type staples throughout the world that are not only fun, but versatile and tasty as well. We are launching on a goal of learning how to make a different bread each month. Because we had already bought our groceries for the month of January by the time this plan hatched itself in my brain, by default January was going to be “Naan” month. It went with Chicken Tikka Masala, which we had already learned how to make (allrecipes.com is the best site ever!).
Above you can see a picture of our results. Obviously, Eric is one happy little naan boy! We mixed up the dough and cooked it on our pizza stone. Our friend Carlan, always a good friend to experiment on, is quoted as saying it was “addictive.” Success! Future breads of the month include pita, tortillas, and crusty French bread.

The Forty-Fifth State

December 29, 2007. A momentous day for me. Some of you know that Eric and I have been in an unofficial “race” to beat each other to all 50 states. Between the two of us, we’ve made it to all 50, but the ones that we have left individually, unfortunately, do not overlap. We were on our way to visit Eric’s sister in Chattanooga (starting from Nashville, where we had spent a delayed Christmas) and came to the realization that one of my remaining six states was only a TEN MINUTE DETOUR from our proposed route. Alabama, here we come! We turned off of I-24 and within minutes, found ourselves crossing over the state line into my forty-fifth United State of America!!! It wasn’t quite everything I hoped it would be…let’s just say the “scenic route” we chose to take was mostly trailer homes and scrub bushes (maybe there’s a reason this was #45 instead of #10 or something). But I can’t be picky.

States we have left are as follows: Eric—Hawaii, Maine, Oregon, Nevada, South Carolina. Rachel—Alaska, Vermont, Louisiana, Mississippi, West Virginia.


Books We're Giving Away

Let us know if you want any of these, or if you just want to stop over and look them over:

We'll give these to the church library if there are no takers:

Churched Turner Christian humor
Mandate for Mercy Stephens missions
Chasing the Dragon Pullinger missions
Tortured for Christ Wurmbrand missions
Always Enough Baker missions
Surprised by the Power of the Spirit Deere spiritual life
Journal of the Unknown Prophet prophecy
Secrets of the Vine Wilkinson spiritual life
Prayer of Jabez Wilkinson spiritual life
He Still Moves Stones Lucado spiritual life
Dominion Alcorn fiction
The Visitation Peretti fiction
The book of God Wangerin fiction
Intended for Pleasure Wheat marriage
Before You Say I Do Wright marriage
Books of Destiny Keith spiritual life
The Torch and the Sword Joyner prophecy
When Heaven Invades Earth Johnson spiritual life
The Message: Job and Proverbs Bible
Vital Doctrines of the Faith Furness theology
Handbook of Theological Terms Harvey theology
Teenagers Pray prayer
In the Eye of the Storm/Gentle Thunder Lucado spiritual life
First Years of Forever Wheat marriage
Bible Study Made Easy devotional
Beginner’s Guide to Prophecy prophecy
10 Things I want my Son to Know Chapman spiritual life
I Kissed Dating Goodbye relationships
Collegiate Devotional Bible Bible
Interpreter’s One Volume Commentary on the Bible

These will go to Goodwill or the Public Library if no takers:

Spanish Dictionary
Musculoskeletal Exam
Dorland’s Illustrated Medical Dictionary
Stedman’s Concise Medical Dictionary
Les Miserables (old) Hugo
The Lord of the Rings Tolkien
The Hobbit Tolkien
Jane Eyre Bronte
Five Plays Chekov
The Black Cauldron Alexander
Master and Commander O’Brian
Let’s Go New Zealand 2000
Roget’s thesaurus
My Fair Lady Lerner
Dubliners Joyce
Streetcar Named Desire Williams
Letters of Abelard and Heloise
Cold Mountain Frazier
Last Lecture Pausch
Deception Point Brown
Anne Frank in German or English
Deep End of the Ocean Mitchard
Chocolat Harris
Dangerous Minds Johnson
Absolute Truths Howatch
Christmas Carol Dickens