Sunday, July 12, 2015

The Extraordinary Ordinary

It was my birthday Friday, but that's not why I write these words or share these pictures.
I share these moments, because some days I just need to be reminded of the extraordinary in my ordinary.

A park.....

A park is really an ordinary thing, unless you don't have one.
We've lived in Ghana almost 12 years.
This is the very first park of it's kind in the entire COUNTRY.

My children were thrilled to go play at this park for a few hours.
The last time my two oldest played at a park was over 3 years ago on furlough.
My youngest two have never played at a park.

This park had grass!
Though we live in a tropical country and our city is surrounded by jungle, grass that can be played on is almost non-existent.
We have a very small patch outside the front wall of our home, and children come in droves to play on it, because it is the only patch of grass in our entire community.

This park has a hill!
My girls were so excited to have a little grass-covered hill they could roll down.
What a treat to have such a simple thing to enjoy.

In our house the one being celebrated gets to pick the meal and the cake.
{My sweet girls were in charge of decorating.}
Since it was my birthday I picked some new dishes I'd been wanting to try.
I chose a Middle-Eastern feast including lamb burgers, Israeli couscous salad, and roasted vegetables with mint-labneh sauce. {If you are feeling adventurous, do try a recipe or two. They were delicious!}
That may sound exotic or expensive, but we are blessed to have a large Lebanese population here in our city that make all these foods easily available.
My extraordinary ordinary!

Chocolate chocolate chocolate cake.
I live in a place where I have had no choice but to learn to bake all our cakes from scratch.
Tackling a cake like this is no longer intimidating, it's fun!
The extraordinary in my ordinary.

The best part of my day, though, was these 5 people.
They are my favorites.
I get to live every day with the best, most handsome, amazing, adoring husband and these four beautiful, sparkly, giggly, brilliant girlies.

I get to live in a place that has ripped me wide open and asked me to live a life that takes faith, where a park is abnormal and lamb burgers are normal, where making a cake from scratch is much cheaper than dumping one out of a box, where soft, squishy grass is an oddity and concrete is the norm, where I have to constantly ask God to make me brave enough to speak another language than the one of my heart and think another culture than the one of my birth, where I still sweat on the coldest days, and can never straighten my hair because of the humidity, where we don't get to see grandparents and aunts and uncles regularly except on a computer screen, but where God has given me another family, where I get to do the greatest work anyone could be allowed to do ~ sharing Jesus and seeing lives transformed for His glory.
That's my extraordinary ordinary, and I'm overwhelmed by the beauty of it.

*I'm curious......what's extraordinary about the ordinary place God has called you to live?
Please do share!


  1. Happy Birthday, Patty!
    It is amazing how a park and green grass can be such an extraordinary thing in this country. So normal in the USA but so extraordinary here! I need to make sure I always look for extraordinary things in the everyday ordinary routine! Thanks for always speaking truth!

  2. Patty, I can so relate to some of the things you said. I am working on a missions post on my blog and was wondering if I could quote that line you said about asking God to make you brave enough to speak another language and think another culture . . . and link back to your post. Would that be okay with you? I don't seem to have your e-mail address so decided to leave it as a comment. Your posts are always such a blessing to me, so real.

    1. Please feel free, Jessi! Is your blog private now? I've tried to view it, but it denies me access.

  3. Yes, I went private for security reasons. I will send you an invitation.

  4. Oh, I need your e-mail address first. Do you have mine?

    1. The one I use for the blog is ghanagirl AT rocketmail DOT com. I look forward to catching up with your family and ministry.

  5. Happy Birthday Patty! Thank you for the beautiful reminders to enjoy the extraordinary ordinary things and places in our lives! We are blessed to live in Hokkaido Japan and there are extra ordinary ordinary is that we can take out kids to lots of places for free! Our zoo and science center are free up until age 15! Right now we are on furlough and are enjoying the extraordinary ordinary things stateside that we don't have in Japan- dryers are wonderful!!

    Thanks again for your always encouraging blog posts.
    Shelley in Hokkaido

  6. Thank you Mrs john for always sharing these wonderful things. It is amazing how ordinary things can leave such extraordinary memories. I was privileged to grow up in both city and village settings right here in Ghana, and the ordinary village life has been some of the extraordinary memories I carry. Walking barefoot to farms miles away with cousins and siblings not much older than myself to cut firewood, and hunt birds. Running at dawn through the grass with dew drenching my clothes and making me itch, it was horrible but I loved it. Climbing velvet tamarind trees and getting caught in the branches on gummy sap, oh, I laugh now but I used to scream my heart out for help to get down. I still remember standing on sand hills when I was seven to watch the sun set, it was amazingly beautiful. Ordinary village life but extraordinary experiences for me.