Monday, July 30, 2012

Lamb at Krupa...

So, in order to understand, turning a lamb on a spit is a tradition which Bosnians take quite seriously. It is usually done on holidays (like Prvi Maj) or in our case because Igor has been dreaming of it while working hard over the summer... He worked previously at the campsite in Krupa na Vrbasu and the manager offered him a place to make a rostilj (braai/BBQ) with friends whenever he wanted... so this weekend that is what we did! It was a lovely day and we had a great time - staying almost 12 hours!

The lamb was bought direct from the farmer (who helped put it on the spit). We all took turns doing the turning of the spit: I don't have pics of all of us: Here is Igor:
Zvjezdan: (the people staying in the tents were out for the day!)
 Ljilja:
 And yes, even I gave it go:
After almost 5 hours of slow cooking it was time to give the meat a rest for 10 minutes... (Goran and Igor with lambie)
 Lambie enjoying the view before we dig in...
And sorry - I don't have any pics of all of us enjoying the food... you will just have to enjoy this last pic of lambie sticking out its tongue at you ;-)

Friday, July 20, 2012

Book Review: Your Life Without Limits by Nick Vujicic

Based on the book "Life without limits" by Nick Vujicic, this shorter version is focused on how we can life our lives without limits that we place on ourselves. And Nick Vujicic is certainly the person who can testify to living life to the full despite the circumstances!

Born in Australia without any limbs, he struggled to understand why God would create him this way and prayed as a child for his legs and arms to grow back so he could be normal. But now he is starting to see some of God's plan for his life as he shares with people all over the world about how with hope for a future beyond this life we can life now despite any difficult circumstance.

The theme of this book is hope, and living our lives in hope. Here is my favourite quote and it sums up the book for me: "What is hope? It is where dreams begin. It is the voice of your purpose. It speaks to you and reassures you that whatever happens to you doesn't live withing you. You may not control what happens to you, but you can control how you respond."

Nick shares stories from his life and how he responded, and shows us how we can live without limits, through faith in Jesus, and believe in a future hope. I was first inspired by Nick Vujicic when I saw this video of him on youtube and it really impacted me then. And this book is just an extension of that video. If you want a good quick challenging and inspiring read, then this book is for you.

I received a free copy of this book through the bloggingforbooks.com website, but this is my honest opinion. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Hiking with Lea and Gaga

Lea is here visiting from Finland and she wanted to take Gaga on a hike that she did when she lived here. I tagged along with them... Starting in the Suturlija valley, we then walked up the hill to the top of Sibovi and it took us around 3 hours for us to walk the 10 or so kilometres. Here are some pictures (thanks to Lea!) of the scenery:


And it wouldn't be Lea's pictures if there wasn't some detail of flowers or something: 
There were some scary (for some) bits: Here is Gaga getting across the "bridge":
And me hamming it up on my way across...
But here is a picture of us just to prove we were actually having a good time: with the farmhouse in the middle of nowhere in the background:
Coming out of the jungle:
To the top of Sibovi hill. I am pointing out the big hospital:
 And finally a picture of Lea (with Gaga):
And then we went home via Switzerland: well, it felt like it when we saw this house:
It was a lovely hike, but I definitely need to get a bit fitter before trying it again!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Light vs Dark

For a long time I didn't have a working light in the walk-in pantry that is part of the kitchen. I got used to going in there and leaving the door open so I can see in there using the kitchen light. Last year, our friend and general handyman, Damjan, painted in there and managed to also fix the light! I told him after 8 years of darkness, he was truly bringing light into my world... It was so nice to have a light and be able to actually see in there, especially at night.

The other day I realised something - it is over a year now since I have had a working light in there, and yet I still struggle to remember to TURN IT ON! I got so used to being in there in the dark that I forget that I don't have to be in the dark anymore...It is so easy, just flick a switch and you don't have to scramble anymore, but the years of living in darkness conditioned me and it is hard to remember that I don't have to live that way anymore...

Now, I hope that you can relate to this little revelation of mine: it is so true in our lives that we so forget to turn on the light, we forget to connect to the one who will bring that light into our lives, and we continue to live in the darkness... We live in our old ways of darkness and forget to turn our lives daily over to the light...

So, my challenge to you today is: don't forget to TURN ON THE LIGHT!

Bosnian visa application - check!

So after coming back from our fantastic Croatian vacation, blah...and saying good bye to Sina on Monday and Ljilja (who has gone to Trebinje) and the American team that was here on Thursday, I spent the week getting all the documents for my Bosnian visa renewal together... Now that I know where to go to get what it doesn't take as long, and I managed to get everything together and handed in in one week, which is great. I posted on my blog in 2010 with what all I need to get and you can see that here. As I don't have English classes or anything else going on right now, in between all that I was catching up with people I haven't seen in ages, and it has been fun!

And then on Friday, Lea arrived for a visit. She was here for 3 years and left in 2010 (here is a blog post about a trip to Jajce with her and her sisters) and it is nice to have her here...

Blogging for books review: Fearless

"Fearless" by Eric Blehm is the true story of Navy Seal Adam Brown who was killed in Afghanistan in 2010 leaving behind a wife and 2 children. It is a story that not only shows his whole life with no holds barred, but also encourages us to live our own lives fearlessly. He was a Christian and lived out his faith - showing us how to be warriors in the true sense.

Even though I expected to be moved by the book (he does die, and you know that going in), I didn't realise the journey it would take me on. Adam's story drew me in and shook me up and threw me out wanting to be a better person and to live life to the full. He was constantly challenging himself to be better and was the epitome of what living fearlessly means.

I don't want to throw out too many spoilers to the story, but I think that it needs to be mentioned that he became a part of Seal Team 6 (on the highest tier of the US military - the top 1% as they say), with only his left eye and left hand functioning. He managed to overcome injuries to himself and still be able to function at that top level - that is just too amazing, and only through God was that possible. Look at this Fox Memorial Day video to him which explains a bit more about this aspect of his life.

I wish the story didn't have to end with his passing. I wish he was still here with his wife and two children to see them growing up. But then on the other hand, if he hadn't died this book would probably not have been written, and if the impact it has had in my life is any indication, I believe it will influence and challenge lot of people for the good. And may that be a comfort to his family and friends...

I received this book free through the "Bloggingforbooks.com" website, but the opinion is entirely my own. 

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Croatian Vacation - Hvar Island

The second part of our Croatian Vacation (see part one - Plitvice lakes here) was on the lovely Island of Hvar with our friend Natalija. Ljilja and I were there in 2007 (with Cath Draper from South Africa) and 2010 (with our friend Dragana) and so we told her that we wouldn't come again until she had come to visit us (as she had been promising for so long we had to get her there somehow!). She came in December to Banja Luka, and then kept telling us we needed to come again, so with our rubber arms twisted behind our backs, we came back to Stari Grad. This time with Sina from Finland. Here we are out at the "Stari Mlin" or Old Mill in Stari Grad:
This is Ljilja and Sina in "Sridnja Kola" or middle street - the longest street in the Old Town part (and Stari Grad means "Old Town"):
And on the Trg Skor in Stari Grad: love it!
And then the "riva" or seafront: so pretty:
Besides the beach lounging, which we did a lot of, we also did a bit of touristing around the Island. Here we are in the town of Hvar: St Stephen's square and Cathedral:
On the "riva" with the town in the background:
We went up to the fortress above Hvar (after we discovered you can go by car...):
And the views were SPECTACULAR! With the Pakleni Islands in the backround:
Hvar and the Pakleni Islands:
Going inside the fortress :-)
Ljilja at the fortress - love this pic!
Besides the view, there are other things to experience in the fortress: including the prison: Glad I wasn't a criminal in that era... looks a bit small! 
We also went to Vrboska the one day, it is such a pretty little town:
But mostly we just hung out at the different beaches: even staying to see the sunset the one evening:
And Natalija was a fantastic host. Even taking us to pick lavender on her parent's farm. (they farm lavender, olives, grapes amongst other things). And we took the opportunity to get some lovely pics of us with the lavender:


Her dad was telling us back in the day a litre of lavender oil was so expensive that it was almost the same as an officer's monthly salary. And the bunch I am holding makes about 2,3 teaspoons of the stuff so you can see why. Now no one is willing to pay that much when there is fake scent available, so it is now not really worthwhile making it.

He also told us that he has lived all his life on the Island of Hvar, but lived in 6 different countries... The Kingdom of Yugoslavia, the Banate of Croatia, under the Italians and then the Germans in WWII, then Yugoslavia and finally Croatia! Interesting bit of history for you!

Now it is back to reality...

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Croatian Vacation - Plitvice lakes

On Tuesday, after dropping Bec off (sniff, sniff) in Zagreb, we went to the airport to pick up Sina (who flew in from Finland) and travelled down to a place near Plitvice Lakes. We arrived around 4pm, and so after a little rest decided to go exploring a set of caves in the near vicinity - called "Barac's caves":
It took about 40 minutes to get around and as we were quite late, we were the only people on the tour with our guide, so it was a really good experience: No flash photography, so this is what most of my pics look like: But you get the idea:
 Here is our attempt to get a pic of the three of us with no flash - no easy task:
Here we had more success, but this is in front of a huge pile of "guano" from the bats!  
 A better pic outside the cave on the way out: We had to wear the helmets for protection:
The next morning we got up and headed for the Plitvica lakes: Ljilja and I had been before with Dragana, but this was Sina's first time. Last time we were kind of rushed for time, so it was nice to take it a bit slower and enjoy all the sights (and there are LOTS of lovely things to see...)
We were also lucky that we managed to avoid the crowds somehow, so we could get lots of lovely photos:
 Although we did have to queue up at this spot: love this photo:
And luckily it wasn't that hot and the track we took it was mostly through the forest, so it was a pleasant day:
The 16 lakes interlink with cascades and waterfalls and it truly is one of the most beautiful places on earth:
 There is no way to get all of the beauty into pictures:
 The colour of the water is just amazing:
 And it changes as the water gets deeper:
 With cascades everywhere:
 And waterfalls around every corner...
I am so glad that we started off our Croatian Vacation in such a lovely spot, as it truly puts you in a "holiday mood"... we then drove on down to Split and took the ferry to Stari Grad on the island of Hvar, to spend time with our friend Natalija... more photos of beautiful places to come!!
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