Wednesday, November 17, 2010


None of the following photos fit anywhere in the blog itself, but they are part of our last few weeks.

Sydney squeezing into Jovie's pjs.

Cross country at Hebron is a big deal. All three Palm kiddos participated.

James was a panther at his friend Samuel's birthday party.

James in the bath...getting off the black "washable" Crayola marker wasn't so easy.

The following pics are all of the Hebron event where everyone is supposed to come dressed up in "past" or "future" costumes.

It’s raining right now. Been raining for the last 12 1/2 years. Not really, but feels like it. That’s my weather report from Ootacamund, India. Weather Girl, signing out.

Did you know that if you Google “Peter Pan” and “Robin Hood”, their cartoon images come out practically the same? James and I were arguing over if the figurine he wanted to bring to school was Robin Hood or Peter Pan. I was sure it was Peter Pan and he was sure that it was Robin Hood. We were both right. Google it. It’s very weird. I have been thinking about it ever since. Riveting Story Girl, signing out.

There were no fireworks last week with Jayson being gone. It was the tail end of Diwali, the festival of lights, so there actually were fireworks, but none in our own home. Other than the let down of not having a good story to pass on, it was actually so good to not feel anxious with Jayson leaving, no drama. In his last 3-4 trips, drama. Now it’s easy peasy lemon squeezy folks. Progress people. Progress Girl, signing out. (Are we all having fun with my new “signing out” mantra?)

There was a group in from North Carolina last week. They were here to do an intensive workshop with Ruhamah, the micro-enterprise that the rescued girls work for. They brought buckets of supplies, ideas, energy, and encouragement. At the end of their week they had a jewelry/card party and invited friends of Freedom Firm and other townies. They sold loads. It was great to see how proud and accomplished the girls looked as they watched the general public “ooh” and “ahh” over their work, seeing some real-life reward for their efforts and hard work. I am so thankful that this team came and used the creative gifts that they have been given, then giving those talents to the girls. Thank you Grace Church team!

Another fun note was that on the team was a good friend of Jayson’s from his university days, Devon. She also took pictures at our wedding. And during our wedding weekend, I spent all of two seconds chatting with her. So, her and I had great time of connecting and it was such a treat to spend time with someone who has a history with our family.

(Now a bit from Jayson) Before visiting the Pune office last week, I knew there were some rough patches that needed to be smoothed out, and I was looking forward to walking through this with the team there. And that’s what we did. My favorite conversation was a team building exercise with the director and the head of aftercare. They are two incredible leaders who approach leadership from two very different perspectives. This can either be an asset or a barrier, and we started the conversation about how it can regularly be a benefit to the office. I also had the surprise privilege of being around after the Investigations Team returned late one evening with undercover footage of a minor girl they had found that evening in a brothel. The next morning I was able to sit and listen as the team strategized about how best to rescue her. To be completely honest, it was thrilling to be a fly on the wall in those moments!

Okay people, we are celebrating Thanksgiving this Friday. A little early, but celebrating it to the core! I am going to attach my yum-a-dum-dum Oatmeal Pecan Pie recipe. I will stick my neck out there and say that you may have just a wee bit better Thanksgiving if you partake in this scrumpalicious pie. Note: I am not a pecan pie lover, really I am not. So, I dare you to make it and see if it brings tears to your eyes. Obnoxious Oatmeal Pecan Pie Maker Girl, signing out.



1/2 (15-ounce) package refrigerated pie dough (such as Pillsbury)

Cooking spray

1 cup packed dark brown sugar

1 cup light corn syrup

2/3 cup regular oats

1/2 cup chopped pecans

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

2 large egg whites, lightly beaten


Preheat oven to 325°.

Roll dough into an 11-inch circle. Fit into a 9-inch pie plate coated with cooking spray. Fold edges under; flute.

Combine brown sugar and remaining ingredients, stirring well with a whisk. Pour into prepared crust. Bake at 325° for 50 minutes or until center is set. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Taken from

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Typical "Ooh,ooh, ahh, ahh" Sound

A great day swimming at Jungle Retreat with four other families... and cows... and goats.

This morning as the kids and I were walking up the path to school, a family of monkeys walked across the path, they said good morning and invited us over for tea... hmm, just kidding. Instead, they screeched at us. Did the typical “ooh-ooh, ahh-ahh” sound. They are so cliché. I did wait, though, until the family behind us caught up to us, and walked with them. I do not have any energy to look tough in front of my kids when it comes to monkeys. Later in my morning, two birds flew into the house, sat on one of the tops of our windows and then proceeded to poop... on my floor. And then they flew back out. I wasn’t quite sure what to do with both experiences. Are the animals planning to have some sort of siege on us? This is what I have been thinking about today.

This weekend we pulled off the Sisters Conference. Around 275 students, staff and speakers were able to come. We held it at a local boarding school, St. Hilda’s. It was such a fun weekend. Lots of energy from the girls, and diverse and applicable topics were discussed. One of my favorite sessions was about love and arranged marriages and being single. Two women each represented the “love”, “arranged” marriages and being single. A lot of the girls present will be in arranged marriages in a few years, and very little is usually talked about in the way of what to expect. One of the panelists didn’t meet her husband until the day she got married. Whoa Nellie I say, whoa Nellie. They all talked candidly about some of the more sensitive issues surrounding the topic and I felt really grateful to be able to listen to their stories. I especially loved the fact that regardless if they were single or not, or how they got to their wedding day, they all had joys and they all had pain. It brought the gap a little closer.

I was kind of waiting all weekend for something major to happen in the way of catastrophe. And nothing really did. The closest thing we came to was on Saturday night after a BBQ, bonfire and karaoke, we had packed all the students up to go home and a few of the staff had been sitting around with a cup of tea for about half an hour. And the husband of one of the volunteers came in the room and said, “Do you know that there are a bunch of girls in the forest?” Umm, no, we didn’t know that. Bec jumped up to see who they were, and yes, they had been sitting in the forest for 40 minutes waiting for their bus. We sorted it all out pretty quickly, but good grief.

I am really delighted to be a part of the whole process of putting on this conference. Like I said before, and it was said time and time again by Indian nationals this weekend, that conferences like these do not happen for teenage girls here. And being the main detail person was kind of big deal for me. There were other people definitely helping in the details, but I was kind of the buck stops here. Which, to be perfectly honest, is a bit scary because at the end of the day sometimes I don’t have patience for the nitty-gritty details. But, being the buck stops, as far as details, is pretty great in India. The expectations are more relaxed, which is just, well, more relaxing.

So, what’s on the horizon this week for us? Well, there is a group coming from the States to put on a week-long workshop for the aftercare girls. I have enjoyed helping them get prepared to come and look forward to meeting them on Saturday. They are also bringing pecans so I can make an oatmeal- pecan pie for Thanksgiving. I humbly admit that my oatmeal-pecan pie is the best in the whole wide world. Jayson has a trip up to Pune soon. He will be doing some staff development and strategic planning. I also need to organize my kid’s closets. I humbly admit that I cannot keep their closets - or mine for that matter - clean for 24 hours. But this week, they will look tidy... for about 24 hours.