Friday, July 29, 2011

Goodbye to the South, Hello to the North!

the Thai flag

Today, our Internet gets disconnected.  The last of our things get thrown into a box or bag, and we will be turning in early to prepare for our 5am wake-up to get ready for the truck's arrival at 6am. 

The sun came out today - an answered prayer!  Moving in muggy weather would not be a I have been praying for a sunny weather until Sunday (AFTER all our stuff gets moved off the truck!).  Run and Huy finally got to play outside today after a week of rain.  They are in bliss.  Run caught no less than 5 toads and is quiet for the first time since I can remember.

Some of teenagers we've been investing in are coming over tonight to be here for the early move tomorrow.  *enters the Hallelujah chorus*  Also, a doctor friend of ours is staying the night as well to help lift things and probably hold my baby while we put all our belongings onto a 6-wheeled truck and trust God that it all will arrive safely up north.  

Pray for us.

Pray for good weather.

Pray for happy, cheerful, obedient hearts.  Not just for our kids, but for us as well.  :)

Pray for the two-day trip to seem like two hours. 

Pray for the grace to leave our "home" to enter a new one.

Pray for fruit to remain here and multiply 100-fold!

Pray for Thailand.  That is why we're here, after all!


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Busy Bees

Go, John, View, Huy, Alina, Kyla and Run before we started off on a boat ride together!  We have loved growing close in friendship with this family - and they are awesome followers of Jesus!  We will miss them terribly.

The cave we visited.  It was spectacular.

Up the coast, we stopped at a restaurant, had fruit drinks and checked out the "fish farm."  Can you believe this blow fish!?

Wild monkeys on the edge of the water.  The driver threw them some rambutan and they posed long enough for some pictures.  We love monkeys!

In a word, we are busy.  Busy packing.  Busy visiting.  Busy cleaning, arranging, throwing away, and selling.  Busy eating, hugging and saying goodbye.

But, thankfully, we're not busy pulling out our hair! 


In two days, we will be packing all our things on to a moving truck (oh why, oh WHY did they choose to come at 6am?  they first suggested 4am...I'm not kidding.).  Then, we will say a tearful goodbye to our home, our friends and our dinky little town.  I will be honest to say that I will miss this place SOOO much.  Moving is exciting, but the unknown feels a little unstable sometimes.  Other than our close friends, the S-clan, we know only two other families who live there.  That means that basically, we're starting over again.  New city (we've actually never even been there yet!).  New house.  New neighborhood.  New vision for work.  And, even, a new dialect of Thai to learn. 

When I choose to look at things more optimistically...I can describe this move as so:

New opportunities.  New friends.  New adventures.  New people who have never heard of Jesus.  New, excited, ready, open eyes and hearts in our family.  Moving does that to you.  It awakens you.  It is no longer walking up the same stairs in your house, the same aisle in the grocery store or market, saying an apathetic "hi" to your same neighbors.  Moving causes you to be more alert, more expectant, hopeful. 

I am ready for that!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Kleenex Addiction

This isn't the most eco-friendly post.  There, I said it.

With moving in full-swing, packing tape and scissors out, the dust in our house is deciding to show it's ugly face.  Without fail, when we re-organize or prepare for a house guest (you know, the kind who actually sleep in the guest room/office/storage room/extra nap room/place to hide room)...our noses drip.  I know, gross.

I cannot tell you how many boxes of tissues we've been through in the last few weeks.  An obscene amount.  What did people do before Kleenex?  Have an embarrassing drip running down their noses during allergy season and/or a heart-attack inducing pile of snotty rags?  Disgusting.  I would rather think of my rapidly increasing carbon-footprint due to using disposable face tissues than even imagine how it would add to my laundry pile right now.  *Shudder*

I think back to one of my cute hippie friends in our post-college days.  Our one-child days.  I had lots of opinions then.

My cute hippie friend had me over one day to hang out in her garage apartment, and she was suffering from allergies, too.  Except, when she went to blow her poor, red nose, she grabbed for a hip handkerchief instead.  Who still uses those?  My family certainly didn't.  It was so old-school, yet actually, "green," that I was impressed.  My friend was really short on cash in those days, so I just thought she was being thrifty.  I asked her about it.  She shrugged, "Oh, this?"  Like I was the odd one.  And, in that moment, I did feel odd.  Because, who in their right mind would pay so much to blow their nose once and then throw the evidence in the wastebasket instead of the washing machine.  Uh, ME! 

The experience got me thinking...but not enough to go out shell out more cash to buy new handkerchiefs!  (Like they cost that much anyways!)

Since then, every time an allergy attack hits our house, dust flying in the air and tissues quickly filling every available trash can available, I think about my friend.  It is funny how we attach very small, insignificant interactions with events that continue well into the future.  

I think that one day I might be one of those nostalgic people who carry around handkerchiefs and recycle my rainwater to hand wash my organic cotton little squares that rescue my aching nose from eternal dripping.  One day.   When I have a clothes dryer.  Or, a child who can finally do the laundry for me. 

One day. 

Monday, July 18, 2011

10 Things I Like Today

P. View and Huy sword-fighting.  All in good fun, of course.

1.  Extra time with P. View.  View has been an awesome, faithful friend and worker here in our city.  She's not moving with us up north because God has something else in store for her.  She is staying at our house until we move, and the boys and are LOVING it!  This morning, they needed an extra sword-fighting partner and View was up for it!  We. love. View.

2.  It was my turn to sleep-in this week.  Treav and I take turns so we can at least sleep-in twice in one month.  If you don't have kids, you might be wondering why this deal is so glorious.  Just you wait.  And, all the parents might be a little jealous.  Dare you to try out this deal with your is wonderful!

3. Still not certain about where we'll live when we move up north. In less than two weeks!  But, honestly, we're not stressed.  "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."  Matthew 6:34

4.  KFC soft-serve ice cream. 

5.  A roast in the crock pot.  Have I ever told you that I am in love with it?  The crock pot.  I could even marry it.  Well, maybe not.  But, if it had a self-cleaning function I might.  Just maybe.
The S-clan with View in the center
6.  These guys (pic above) - I miss them already! 

7.  Long emails from my sister.  I love her.  I can't believe we fought so much when we were kids.  How could I not appreciate how terribly wonderful she is?  I guess you don't think about your kid sister that way when you're 10 and she's getting into your Barbies and is, frankly, waaay cooler and better dressed than you ever could be.  Almost 20 years later, she's still better dressed - but now I don't care!  And, it shows.  ;)

8.  Long emails from anyone, really.  There's almost nothing I enjoy more than someone spending several precious moments downloading their thoughts, ideas, wonderings, and/or ramblings through email.  For me, less is definitely not "more."  More is "more." 

9.  Living in a place people dream to vacation in.  Thank you, Jesus.  Every day I wake up surrounded by beauty.  Thank you for making it that way.

10.  You.  I like you today.  Anyone reading this.  You're awesome.  Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Frog Surprise!

Today I went out to get Kyla's diapers off the clothes rack outside and found this cute tree frog nestled in one of them.  I love living here.  Surprises around every corner!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Goodbye Bananas, Hello Uncertainty

Some of our banana trees fell over two days ago.  Gale-force winds were blowing furiously the night before and we woke up to quite a mess in the front yard.  The rain had water-logged our lawn and everything looked crazy and prophesied of hours of work cutting, raking and burning to clean it up.  I was sad for about two seconds until I realized - hey, we're moving in two weeks!  I wouldn't even be around to miss them!

And, then, I realized that I didn't even know WHAT my next yard would look like.  Or, if my new dwelling would even have a yard.  I wouldn't miss *attempting* to help keep up with yard work, but then again, living in a concrete jungle again would almost certainly drive me bonkers.

Having space.  Green grass.  Fruit trees (10 plus!).  Endless species of wildlife (welcome and unwelcome).  A small garden.  These are things I have gotten used to over the past year.

We're knee-deep in the (online) house hunting process, and hope to decide next week.  Until then, it is a good distraction trying pack up our things, say goodbye to friends and disciples, while still trying my best to manage a household.

But, as we plan a move to the north of Thailand - and look ahead to the next few years, I have no idea what's in store.  Then again, who ever really does?

I was blown away with the space of my first house, filled with peace and rest upon settling into the second house, and I am sure that there are great surprises in store for the third.  

So, goodbye bananas and, hello...something better!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Guessing Game

Quick!  Guess our big announcement by creating your own caption for this picture!  (comment below!)

Monday, July 11, 2011

The "Start-Over"

photo credit
Every now and then, don't you just wish you could start the day over again?

Usually, this thought runs through my head if I've woken up later than planned, are sick, tired and/or horribly irritable.  Sometimes there is a reason, and sometimes there isn't!  At that I can figure out.

On these mornings, I have a frown permanently fixed on my face and snap at my kids.  Every little thing can bother me.  And, as the morning progresses, I am become more and more painfully aware of my sour attitude. 

Enter the "Start-Over."

When these mornings happen upon us, I like to enforce the "Start-Over" with myself first...and find that my kids (and unsuspecting husband - if he happens to be around that morning) quickly follow suit.  It is so helpful for an instant attitude change.  It goes a little something like this...

"HEY GUYS!  I think we need a "Start-Over" this morning.  Sound good?"


(I exit the room...pray quickly...turn my frown into a beaming smile...and re-enter the room.)

"GOOD MORNING! *smiling*  Isn't today such a WONDERFUL day?"


(I go around to each kid and/or unsuspecting husband and hug them, kiss them, *still smiling*, and tell them how much I love them.)

"I LOVE you!  I am SO happy to see you today!"

They usually respond with the same greeting...smiles creep over faces.  The mood lifts. 

As we continue to interact over breakfast, clean up, school time, etc...I try my best to use a sing-songy voice, *still smiling* and actively encourage rather than nag.  Also, I have to choose to forget all that irritated me to begin with, and treat the day as a new one.  It isn't wishful thinking, it is simply not giving into feeling justified in my less-than-loving attitude.  This is the hard part. 

But, if you press through, with kindness, the day goes much more smoothly.  A new start.

If you think about it, your family's attitude sours as you, the opposite should work as well.  Funny how that works.

Try it out sometime!

A wise woman builds her home,
      but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands.
Proverbs 14:1

Friday, July 8, 2011

Orchid in Bloom

Like you and me, this orchid plant looks quite ordinary in it's "pre-blooming" state.  No frills.  Even a little unsightly and ragged-looking.  But, this seemingly ordinary part of creation soon unveils it's quite extra-ordinary purpose with help from the sun, air and water.  In similar ways, we must have the Son to live.  Without Him, we cannot bear fruit in our lives, or display the beautiful destiny we were created for.

"Whoever has the Son has life..." 1 John 5:12 

Go reach for the SON today!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A Fun "Fourth"

Steph, Treav and Nick.  Enjoying the great outdoors.
Here in Thailand, we do things laid back.  Most people aren't in a major rush.  And, neither are we...just kidding.  Life is still crazy!  But, this week, we pushed back the celebration of the Fourth of July till the Fifth of July.  We're cool that way.

Or, we're just more into fitting into our schedule when it works!  Nobody here knows the difference.  ;)

Couple shots...*awww* Treavor and Alina...

...and Nick and Steph.

Treav and Huy.

Run and Elliot - it was so bright outside right then.  I promise he's not sleeping sitting up.

Steph caught a better kid picture I'm sure.  This was one I got after all her's were done.  The kids were done.  And, hilarious, too!  My fav!

Check out this little nugget dressed so patriotically.  Thanks, Meemaw, for the outfit!

With hot dogs and chicken on the grill, we downed chips with sour cream and onion dip (DIY for the first time...I over-salted it a bit, but when you can't buy it at the store, it is still a special treat!).  We had carrot sticks with Cesar dressing, watermelon (what summer b-b-q is complete without it?), and strawberry limeade drinks to wash it all down.  Other than the apple pie and potato salad (sorry, Nick! ;) was completely awesome! 

Engrossed in a movie (about the first Fourth of July) - I cannot tell you how many of these types of pictures I have.  I should showcase them all some day just to prove it.  Over 2.5 years, these kids have watched tons of flicks together.  Good times.

During "color your own American flag time," the adults collaborated together to try and convey to our unsuspecting littles (7 of them, 6 years and under) - about what Independence Day means for Americans.  Let me tell you, this can get a little tricky.  Unless you're a great history buff or do your studying beforehand, it is a little difficult to try and shoot out the "bottom-line" of July the Fourth. 

The meaning of the Star-Spangled Banner - can anyone remember the whole story?  Bueller?
Declaration of Independence?  A document that was essentially a battle-cry. 
Calling it a "birthday party" for America?  (I thought that would help the pre-schoolers, and they were like, who's birthday is it?  George Washington's?). 
Fighting for land that wasn't "ours" to begin with?  Sorry if I stepped on a few toes there. 

I said it could get tricky.

Really, if you think about it, all the culture of the Fourth begins with barbeque's, swim parties, wearing patriotic-themed clothes, fireworks, staying up past bed-time, and such.  When I was 6, I thought there was nothing beyond celebrating Independence Day if it didn't include homemade brownies and sparklers!

But, as we grow up in America, we learn more about our fight to freedom.  About loyalties.  Taxes.  Having liberty to worship in any way we please. Becoming a "community" and a culture apart from Mother many. things.  We begin to understand more and think beyond cannon booms and the almost religious pledge of allegiance to our Flag.  We think to Freedom. 

Hopefully today, we attached not just a little patriotism upon our confused, third-culture kids - but, at the least, a happy memory to tag onto their formative years.  One day they will understand it all a little deeper (probably because we'll have to home school them on it!)...especially if we ever live in the States again. 

Pray for us.  Pray for our children to have identity not only here in Thailand - but as Americans - and, ultimately, as citizens of Heaven. 

Pray for our country.  For leaders to lead rightly.  To feel the weight of their responsibility.  And, *gasp*, to hear God's voice to lead them!

Pray for the world.  To be brought to true freedom!  Freedom from sin.  From guilt.  From oppression.  From hopelessness, poverty and the desperation of the world.  To be brought to the beautiful face of Jesus.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

A Great Pairing

Last night I consumed two things:

Mango Sticky Rice Pudding
Mangoes with Sticky Rice and Coconut Milk


Treavor was away at a prayer meeting, and I had ordered tucked the children in bed early last night.  What is there left to do with a quiet house than eat a terribly rich dessert and enjoy a chick flick that even my husband won't watch for the second time?

I asked him, after I bought it, why he was disappointed that I chose it instead of some new action flick (like I didn't know why already?).  He replied, "Because it is about two things you really like...blogs and cooking.  Once is enough for me."

OK. OK. Twist my arm. I guess I will just have to forever watch it by myself!  ;)

What do you like to do when you're suddenly faced with a free hour or two?
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