As I write this, the days are getting shorter, and the nights are getting a bit cooler. We have lit our heaters a few times but overall are trying to hold off until it gets really cold. The mountains already have snow but in the valley the trees are still hanging on to their yellow leaves. I love Fall and hope it hangs on just a bit longer before turning into winter which brings me to the purpose of this post. At the end of each month, I write about the lessons I have learned each month. Some of the lessons are just fun while others are lessons that help life become better. Each month I link up with Emily at Chatting at the Sky and other bloggers in the lessons they have learned in that month.
Lesson One: I am becoming a better hiker and enjoying the beautiful city where I live.
For the last few years, we have lived in the Capital city which is dusty and dirty with the mountains too far away to fully enjoy. In our new city, we are surround by mountains and cliffs. We can go hiking next to water ways and marvel at the leaves changing color on the aspens. Some of the terrain is a bit tricky but thankfully I am getting better at navigating the downhill that can make me slip and slide. I am sure the locals get a kick out of seeing this Western woman in a head scarf, long shirt over black pants, and hiking shoes traipsing after her husband as he explores a new trail.
The hikes my husband and I take are the highlight of my weekend. They range from 3 to 5 miles. No matter the length, they help us reset for the next week. Some of our walks take us through one of the tunnels that go under the airport run way. Other walks take us meandering around the potato fields not sure of what the real path is. Come visit and we will take you on a tour.
Lesson Two: Green Tea with Ginger and Honey not Only Settles an Upset Stomach but has become a favorite hot drink.
This last month, our team had a Japanese dinner at a local hotel. The food was delicious plus I found a new favorite drink. A friend and I ordered a green tea with ginger and honey. Since then it has become a favorite hot drink on cool nights especially if my stomach is upset. Basically I mince some fresh ginger in my garlic press then add the ginger to a cup with honey and a green tea bag. Add hot water and seep. After a few minutes, sip and enjoy. It does taste better, the longer it seeps.
Lesson Three: Substitutes for Hoisen Sauce and Fish Sauce.
I love to cook Asian but sometimes I either forget to get the right ingredients or can't find them here. I found out that soy sauce or worcestersauce can be substituted for Fish Sauce. I did half and half. My husband didn't notice the difference which makes me think it is an okay switch. For hoisin sauce, go to this link. I usually make just enough for my dinner that night to conserve my molasses and barbecue sauce.
Lesson Four: I Can Shop Once a Week for Groceries.
In previous years, I have had a guy who works for us go get my groceries for me every other day. It gave him something to do, and he always bartered better than I could. Here, the bazaar is too far away making my old system not possible. Once a week, my husband and I head to the bazaar with one list for the grocery store and another for the produce stand. It takes some planning, but so far, I have been able to get what I need for the whole week. At first, I was worried about my veggies getting bad too soon but if I wash and dry them well they sometimes keep over a week. Here is the produce stand I go to. The gentlemen gives me good prices and will often go find a veggie for me from another stand if he doesn't have it. I am enjoying picking out my own produce. Now it is my fault if I get a bad tomato or apple.
Lesson Five: If I Leave My Curtains Open During the Day, My House Gets Nice and Toasty
We have sun almost every day. On those days, our rooms warm up enough that most nights we don't have to light our coal or wood heater. I am sure this will only last another week or so, but I am enjoying it while it lasts. Here's a picture of our coal heater. It is our first year trying coal. Usually we use wood.
Speaking of the sun, our solar panels are doing a great job of keeping us in electricity when the city power is out. It is nice to have a back up that is also saving us money.
Lesson Six: God Heals In His Time and HIs Way.
I am seeing God working, growing, and healing someone dear to me. It is a beautiful thing.
Lesson Seven: Two Albums that Nourish My Soul.
Both of these albums are on repeat on my computer. The first one, Burning Edge by Andrew Petersen, was a recommendation from Emily at Chatting at the Sky. The song, the Rain Keeps Falling has words that are so true for those hard seasons. The second, Psalms 2 by Shane and Shane was mentioned at the end of a blog post at Desiring God.org. I would say that Psalm 46 is my current favorite on this album. Both albums have words that speak truth and heal the hurting places.
Lesson Eight: I am Slowly Getting a Good Routine
I am figuring out best how to configure my week for those days when my husband is here and those when he is not. He is usually only gone two nights a week. I am trying to use those days and nights to get my "me things" done like working on a craft project, blogging or working my bible study, or maybe just cuddling in bed with a good book. The hard part is not staying up too late when he is gone and wearing myself out. If I am using my time wisely, it is a great time to just be with God without distractions.
The days and weekends when my husband is home are the days when we cook together, watch a TV show or read together, or sometimes finish up our work from the day. On the weekends, we will usually go on a hike both days and make a trip to the bazaar.
In regards to school, I try to get my school planning completed at school so I don't have to bring work home. Even though I am just a block away from the school, it is hard to get back there on the weekends to finish things up. I am also trying to exercise most mornings. Thankfully, my schedule allows me time to exercise after school if I need to.
I still don't feel all at home in this new place and this new season but I am getting closer. One thing that is a blessing is that I have felt God's presence in this place and season. He is my safe place.
What have you learned this month? Any fun finds? Feel free to share in the comments what you have been learning. TJ
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