A Million Pictures of My Family

That sure sounds appealing, right?


My family was in Cebu this week. Weeeeooo!

They braved the 24+ hours of travel to Cebu so they could reconnect with my siblings’ biological family, visit the orphanage we’re working at, and experience our new normal here.

{I just realized most of you probably don’t know anything about my family. I grew up as the oldest of three girls, and then a few years ago my parents adopted three siblings from an orphanage called CSC. Now I am the oldest of six – four girls, two boys – and Bjork and I now work here, at the same orphanage that my siblings lived at for several years before being adopted. But we usually call it the shelter instead of the orphanage. Got all that?}


The visiting crew was Mom, Dad, and my brothers. Guess what? It was such a cool time. If I had to use a few words more descriptive than cool, which I am forcing myself to do because I am not in 8th grade anymore, I would use the words powerful, adventurous, and, um, ok, cool.

So starting with powerful.


We had the privilege of visiting the community where my three siblings lived before they came to live at the shelter.

I won’t go into all the details of everyone and everything, but I will tell you that it was probably the most meaningful experience I have had here in the Philippines. It was both personally challenging and magically surreal to step into this part of their world.

I’ll say it again: a huge privilege.


We also had a little adventure in going to the beach for a few days.


Because you can’t come all the way to the Philippines and not want to see this.


But if you asked my brothers and my parents what they liked the most about the whole trip, I’m positive they would all say the same thing: just playing with the kids at the shelter.


For my brothers, this place is like a second home.


Do you like my hand in this picture? And my hair? I’m giving you a double whammy of bad photography just so you can see this little girl’s smile.


Even Dad got into the playtime.


And kids took full advantage of that. It’s like Where’s Waldo or something.


We had a few nice dinners on the patio (deck? what’s the difference?), complete with barking dogs and lurking geckos. As it should be.


And my brothers. ate. BALUT. 18 days old. As it should NOT be.

Does anyone out there know balut? Google it, now. It’s spelled B-A-L-U-T. And if you have ever eaten balut, please leave me a comment and tell me you’re not for real.


I’m seriously ready to sleep for a week. Why are fun things so exhausting? And why do I love sleep so much??

XOXO to my awesome family. Love you all!



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  1. Your family sounds like a bunch of truly wonderful people. How special that you were able to visit where your brothers grew up.

  2. I really love this story and photos! And I have never eaten balut!

  3. so glad you guys got some time with the fam! Looks like fun. The Mork’s are a good bunch!

  4. Thank you for sharing this wonderful story of your family! I think it’s absolutely wonderful the way that the two of you picked up your lives here in the states and are doing something that is making such a difference in these kids’ lives. It’s really inspiring and that little girl’s smile is priceless!

  5. Heartwarming story :) Looks like everyone had a great time.

    btw, I grew up in the Phils and never had balut. And I never will!

  6. UGH! Balut. My dad has lots of clients that moved here from the Philippines and they try to get him to eat it all the time. Sooooo terrifying.

    Glad you had fun with your fam! Even if some of them will eat nasty, nasty balut.

  7. You made me laugh!!! Isn’t Balut just gross??? YET I ate it! It was kind of a… dare, I suppose!!! Have you ever heard of a ship called Doulos (or Logos Hope)??? They are ship’s operated by a missions organisation and have a focus on bringing literature, help and hope to the people who need it around the world (that’s it in a nutshell… Logos Hope was last in Cebu in January 2012). I lived on board for 2 years back around 99 and spend a total of 8 months in the Philippines. Once we were out on a team outreach and we dared to do a team balut, everyone would eat one at the count of three… I was the only girl actually doing it and it was… gross, even though it just tasted like chicken… chicken with lots of crunchy bits.

    Anyways, I always love reading your blog. All the best and many blessings from Down Under Australia

  8. Hi. Love your website. I use to work with a few people from the Philippines. They would bring in balut for lunch from time to time – (interesting to say the least!) Not for me! ha ha.

  9. Lindsey (Tillman) Werner says:

    Your parents look great Linds! I love lo0king at your pictures each week to see all of your family coming for visits! Your sisters have grown up so much as well! Last I knew I think they were 10 and 8! Bjork’s parents look amazing as well. I love to keep up with all of your adventures and I think you two are amazing for taking a year out of your normal to do something incredible like this! I would love to do the same! You two rock.

  10. Aww…I love your family story! That is precious. Enjoyed the pics too!

  11. Steph Mork says:

    These pictures are so great Lindsay! I can’t wait to see you and hear more about this powerful, adventurous and cool time with the fam :) SO SO wish I could have been there. Really good pictures though. Love you!

  12. You have an incredible family with such an inspiring story! It makes me happy to see there are people like you in the world. :)

  13. What great photos! I’m thrilled we got to learn more about your life and all of the COOL things you’re doing. Yes, cool!!

  14. Wonderful family. So nice for all of you!
    I did google it since I didn’t know what it was. I clicked on the site for…. The six most terrifying foods in the world. Ewwww!

  15. I eat balut from time to time. But I never eat the little chick it in. As a child, and to this day, I still give it the chick to my parents. I think it’s their favorite part of it.

    • Wow – thanks for the comment Rod. So call me a balut novice, but then what part DO you eat? The liquid in the shell?

      • I slurp the soup first. Then I eat the hard egg white with a little bit of salt, and my favorite part is the creamy yolk. The yolk is the best!

  16. Lindsay, you and your family are both beautiful. Your stories and photos always inspire me to capture not just food, but life–cause that’s why we bake right? We bake to enjoy life, to love on people, to share beauty and goodness and delicious.

  17. I love your family, and I love you! Now, go get some sleep!!! :)

  18. You are all amazing!!!! :))))

  19. Wow, that sounds amazing! I had no idea you were so connected to the shelter. What an incredible experience for your family to come together and visit the place where your brothers grew up. Except the balut. That sounds soooooo nasty.

  20. I married a Filipino who loves balut. I tried it but couldn’t get past the brothy stuff. Bleck!

    • At one point when my brothers were eating it, someone shouted, “Drink the mucus!” and I almost lost it right then and there. So I feel ya on that one. :)

  21. You’re such an inspiration, I love it!

  22. Grandma Mork says:

    Thanks for the wonderful pictures, Lindsay. We’re looking forward to Allen and Rigo coming to AZ after Easter. Right now we’re busy learning and fine tuning the Easter Cantata. We wish you well as you approach the finish line on your Filipino adventure. Love, Grandpa and Grandma

  23. I grew up eating balut (we call it balot in Manila) and to me it’s the most delicious thing inside an egg shell you’ll ever eat. No other egg in the world even comes close. Honestly, it’s me who often wonder when people seem to be disgusted with, like, are you for real?

    • Agree to disagree! :) Seems like all the Filipinos I’ve met either love it or hate it… glad to hear the perspective of someone who loves it!

  24. Isn’t Balut the partially developed chicken still in the shell??

    I could never…feathers and bones & beaks and all….Ewwww!

    On another note, I must say I enjoy your blog VERY much!
    I admire you for what you are doing, and making a difference in this world.

  25. What a lovely family you have..beautiful pictures!

  26. What a special time it must have been to have family visit and your story is all that more meaningful to know that your family has such roots there where you are living and working. Thanks for sharing!

  27. I loved seeing a million pictures of your family!
    Between the glowing smiles, the breath taking beaches, and all of the fun, you really captured this memorable weekend well! Thank you for sharing!

    • Wow. You have two Filipino step-brothers. Had no idea, but it certainly explains the connection you have to this place and the work that you do.

      I’m very impressed with you both!

      (You still do ‘merican food in your blog too much, though! :-@)

      • Since they’re adopted, they’re actually just brothers, not step brothers. They are definitely a big reason why we are so connected here. Sorry you don’t like the American food! I’m sure you’re looking forward to finally moving here and make some Filipino food for your own blog.

  28. I have a silly story about balut — I lived on Luzon near Cavite when I was 12 and we holidayed up at Bagio over Christmas. I heard the “balut guy” calling BALOOOOT on the road and thought it would be funny to mimic him. Yeah. Then he started up the stairs to come find the person who must want to buy some balut. I hid under the bed!!

    Love these stories and love your heart! Thank you for sharing!

  29. You and your family are truly amazing and inspiring people. What a wonderful story.

  30. Your family is soo awesome! Looks like you had a ton of fun.
    And I totally know balut. Fertilized duck eggs, right? They have them here in Vietnam too, but under a different name. Soo did NOT try them.

  31. Hi Lindsay-

    I just LOVE your blog! It is my all-time favorite, EVER! I don’t generally find much use in following blogs in general, but since I found yours, I SO look forward to getting an email with new posts. I really missed it the week you were on vacation. LOL

    I like the recipes, but what I really love is seeing your life in the Philippines, and your passion for the children in your care. Your blog is a fun, informative and just plain uplifting to read.

    Looking forward to more!

    Very Sincerely Yours,
    (in Oakland, CA, USA)

  32. Awww. I love it. Seriously tugged at my heart to see the path of your brothers – where they started, to where they are now. And now I love your family too! What blessings you all have in each other! Thanks for sharing this with us!

  33. You have an amazing family. I can imagine the visit to the community where your brothers grew up was heartwarming as well as heartbreaking in some ways -no wonder you have such a connection to the shelter and the country.

  34. Love your food photos, but these are cool ~ rather touching, inspiring, engaging and soulful! Thanks for sharing your story and your family pics! Balut ~ interesting how different cultures treat “food”. On the farm we made sure to break our eggs into a bowl apart from the ingredients to which they were being added to insure that no “little baluts” were added unexpectedly:) A habit that I still practice today, even though commercial eggs have little chance of providing such a surprise. Cheers!

  35. Wow smiles everywhere…looks awesome!

  36. LOVED this! You and Bjork are gems and it’s obvious that you get some of that goodness from your folks. You can see their love and kindness in their eyes and the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree.

  37. what beautiful fun family photos…thanks for sharing a glimpse into your family visit :-)

  38. Tricia Schitter says:

    Hey there,

    I’ve been poking around your blog for a while now loving all the recipes you’ve posted. I am half Filipino (and live in the Midwest) so when you said you were in the Philippines that really intrigued me. I’ve never been there so it’s neat to see how you are living (and cooking) there. But today’s post really struck me. My sister and her husband adopted 3 children from Cebu just 2 years ago. Seeing the pictures from the children’s shelter really hit home. Thank you for all you are doing there.

  39. Awww this really made me miss the Philippines so much! I hope your family enjoyed their visit. My husband and I are looking into visiting my home country this year, though I told him he has to eat “balut” for sure! He’s not very excited about that! lol

    • I don’t think there’s anything anyone could say to me (or Bjork) to get us to eat it. We are too scared! Good luck getting your husband on board with it! :)

  40. I only ate one balut when I was little. After I saw the chick in it, I never, ever, ever wanted to be around it. And I often correct non-Filipinos about balut. It is an acquired taste that many choose not to acquire! (like dinuguan, which I actually like.)

    We hope to visit Cebu in the next couple of years. I haven’t been to PI in 20 years! My children have never been and their Dad’s a big fan of eskrima (stick fighting). His mentor is in his 90s and lives in Cebu, Cacoy Canete.

    I really appreciate your blog and get excited every time you post about PI. It’s just often enough to keep me from being too homesick.

  41. I love that your brothers seem to truly embrace the memory of their time in the shelter. We have some friends in our church that recently took a trip with their adopted son back to Ethiopia to visit his childhood home. Seems like such a rich experience for the boys and family.

  42. Thanks for sharing these photos, Lindsay! I’m so glad that your family came for a visit. What a neat experience for all of you!!!

  43. Hi Lindsay! It’s my first time to vist your blog. Just Googled some recipe, and now I’m here in your blog. I loooove your site, and all the recipes and photos are GREAT!

    I’m from the Philippines, and I’ve eaten balut when I was a kid. Eating the chick was gross, but the liquid/”soup” (aka “sabaw”) in it tasted actually good. :)

    • Ahhh! You crazy balut eater!! :) When my brothers had it, kids were chanting, “drink the mucus, drink the mucus!” and it was just too much for me! Thanks for the comment… always fun to hear from people who live here in the Philippines!

  44. Eating Blair (<—that's Apple's autocorrect for "balut." I love it.) was, at first, an ad of machismo. Something to prove myself at 2am with Red Horse and new friends. But these days it's a late night staple. 16 or 18 days. Okay ra kung way asin, basta naay suka. :)

  45. I’ve eaten balut numerous times although not the chick. What I like better is penoy. Have you tried it? I hope you do before you leave our country.

  46. You should try what’s called here in Manila as “balut sa puti”. It’s very young so the yolk is large (it’s the best part after the soup–NOT AT ALL like mucus e.g. okra–which is the best duck soup ever) and the chick is hardly there (definitely no feathers). Penoy is the unfertilized duck egg version so it’s just like a hard boiled chicken egg.

  47. Landed here looking for a pancit recipe… ended up reading more entries.
    You have such a wonderful family and you made me cry 😀
    The world needs more people like you!

  48. I’m pouring through these now that I realize you wrote about the Philippines. And yes, I’ve eaten Balut 😉


  49. WOW seeing this brought back so many memories.
    I am also from Cebu, I grew up there and left for the states when I was 12.
    I miss my home! Haven’t been back since 1996…and would love to go back.
    I used to live in Pardo!

    Thank you for all that you do and to your family!!!

    And i have never eaten a balut and i dont want to hahaha!

  50. I just stumbled upon your blog via Pinterest, via your recipe for yellow curry cauliflower & lentils! I love your blog!!! So heartwarming! I travelled to Cebu in 2005 with classmates, as a Graduate Student Nurse Anesthetist on a mission trip from Northwest Florida. We provided anesthesia during pediatric surgeries (cleft lips, etc) and GYN surgeries. It was am amazing time!! It was such a beautiful place with the most genuine people! You are inspiring me (now that I have been a CRNA for 8 yrs) to seek out more volunteer/mission work! Great work that you two doing over there! So proud of you! Thank you!

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