Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Quiet Time With Spider-man

Spiderman...not interceding...just waking up.

It is 20 minutes because the kids normally get up.  I try to turn the knob of my boys' bedroom door as quietly as I can, so as not to wake up our 4-year old.  He is the light sleeper.  I am not going in for him, but for his big brother.  The 6-year old.  The newest believer I know.  He is now a temple of the Holy Spirit.  He came to faith like a little child because, well, he is one.  Far be it from us to hinder him.

I pick up his lanky frame and try my best to lift him up, warm blanket and all.  It is really chilly these days in the early morning.  He still needs his blanket.  

I tenderly close the door and navigate down the stairs to plop this little man-in-the-making onto the couch.  After a minute or so, he stirs and smiles.  His Spider-man outfit that he chose as pajamas last night make me smile.  Spider-man is waking up.  He is ready to spend time with Jesus.


I have Phil Wickham's Singalong playing to start our worship time.  It is one of his favorite albums.  Jeshurun opens his mouth to sing praises to God.  

The morning breath.

OH, the morning breath.

But, the sacrifice of clean air space is worth it every morning.  

After we sing, we open the Jesus Storybook Bible and he reads a few pages of truth.  We talk about what the main points were, and how he can not be like the man in the mirror in James...but we talk briefly about how he can ingest the Word into his heart and keep it there.  He always asks for more time reading.  It is his favorite part.

the Word

But, it is almost time for the little ones to wake up, so we pray.  He prays for himself, praises God for who He is, asks for help, asks for wisdom, asks for self-control (YES!) and a myriad of other things.  

Then, we wait.

We wait on the Savior's voice.  Treavor and I are trying to set a foundation in Run that we still struggle with as adults.  Don't we all?  It is so easy to ask, appeal, plead, thank and gab to God during prayer...but when it comes to waiting for a return, it is too easy to get impatient and give up or rush into the rest of our day.  So, every day...



...Jeshurun is waiting for the Voice.  After he listens, hears and shares what he heard from the Holy Spirit that morning, I write it down.  It is his journal, a record, for him to have his whole life.  I have to write it down for him because he can't write for himself yet.  That time will come.  

We've been waking him up like this for two weeks now, ever since he said "yes" to Jesus.  He is our disciple, our responsibility, and it is really a joy to wake him up every day and call him to fix his eyes on the eternal.

Quiet time with Jesus...and Spider-man, or at least, my 6-year old in Spider-man pajamas.  One day, my little man is going to be a spiritual hero to somebody else...we just gotta help him get there.

Teaching him how to really love Jesus...more than sleep...more than anything else, is how he's gonna get there.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Back To The Daily Grind

History in the front yard

Sometimes, Monday nights make me anxious.  Stressed.  Busy.  Mondays are our Sabbath days...but sometimes, when I look to Tuesday morning, I get frazzled thinking of the new week that is waiting for me.  

Sometimes, instead of remembering that this new week means possibility, a clean slate, adventures not yet had, laughter not yet heard, memories not yet made...I think of lesson plans, spelling tests, dirty floors, laundry baskets that never stay empty.  

But, one of the reasons why we chose to home school our kids, for now...was to have more unordinary outside on the front lawn...recess for more than 20 minutes, but for two hours at our local park...or, staying in pajamas...reading all day on the couch...siblings teaching each other and asking for "just one more story!"

Tonight...I am choosing to remember days like these:

brother teaching brother

I am thankful, and expectant, and rejoicing!

Thursday, January 19, 2012


photo credit

These days, I am noticing things that I say over and over again.  Broken-record style.  Deciding whether these are extremely helpful or extremely detrimental to my children's emotional well-being is fuzzy, at best.  Someone's life mantra might be someone else's $100/hour therapy bill in the future.  Time will tell.

"Think before you do."  With my kids, I frequently observe them doing something foolish, rash, dangerous, etc. without any rational thought behind it.  Typical of kids, yes.  I guess this is my equivalent of "use your brain" or "look before you leap."  I use it about 247 times/day with my oldest son and about (maybe) once with my other son.  There's something interesting about that.  Personality difference?  Think so.

"'Why?' is not an answer."  Ever have someone answer a question with a question?  This wasn't just Jesus' tactic...but my kids have caught on as well.  Except (unlike Jesus), their question is more of an act of rebellion or a shameless stalling technique.  I remind them, lovingly, with my mom-ism and then ask the question again...expecting a real answer.  Yes, no, maybe so?  Anything is better than, "why?"

"The last shall be first and the first shall be last"  A rip-off, I know.  Not entirely original.  But, for two competing brothers, this one is a doozy and hilarious when they use it on each other.  Try it out sometime.  It is the never-ending cycle of role-switching that (most of the time) ends in manipulation.  They obviously haven't figured out the underlining-meaning of forbearance just yet.

"If I said we were going out for ice cream, would your attitude be like this?"  An instant reality-check.  They are, in fact, in control of their disposition and emotions towards obedience.  And...they realize how easily they can fake compliance as well.  I should start asking myself this question when I start complaining and am slow to obey.  Do I give the same enthusiasm if I am working for a chocolate-peanut butter milkshake as my reward?  Hmmm...

These are just a few.  Listing out all of them would just give you new material to use in your own home.  I'm not exactly sure if I am helping you out or not...

What are some of your mantras/-isms/sayings that you use?  What do you remember your parents "teaching" you with in your childhood?  Can't wait to hear 'em.  Leave yours in the comment box below.

Friday, January 13, 2012

My 100th post! Thank YOU!

This is my 100th post!  Last Spring, when I wrote my first post, I honestly didn't know how long I would last.  

Since then, I have found that my heart and my mind have been, somewhat, awakened.  I haven't turned into a prolific writer in the sense of being featured somewhere wonderful or published into a best-selling tell-all book.  But, that wasn't my goal.

Sometimes for the extroverted-me, living overseas and (mostly) being at home with my three munchkins can be taxing on my emotional health.  When I say "emotional health" - I mean the fact that I almost can't stand it when something absolutely special, or very, very ordinary happens...and I can't share it with the world.  To be able to post about it and comment back and forth with all of you is surprisingly refreshing for my brain.  I want to call my 20 closest friends, or share every one of my 1000's of photos, or sit down for coffee and pick every one of your brains about everything that you love about life.  Because of space and time limitations, none of this is actually possible.  

But, when my son gets shark teeth, my daughter takes her first steps, the nation floods, or I want to rant about my latest snake encounter, I get to write about it here at Ordinary Life in The Wild.  

And then (this is where my point finally surfaces), when I hear back from you about your own life, your thoughts, your struggles, your victories...a connection is made.  We are no longer swimming in an ocean of anonymity that sometimes defines the Internet...and sometimes defines how we feel in a world with 7 billion people living in it; trying to feel linked together, yet overwhelmed at our smallness, at times.

When YOU have read what I have written here, even once, or have faithfully followed since the beginning...I have been so, so thankful to be a part of your life.  Thank you for being a part of mine.  

Here's to the next 100 posts!  Thanks for being part of the adventure here.

I thank my God every time I remember you (Philippians 1:3),

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Jeshurun's Belief and Baptism - New Life!

Jeshurun (right) with Huy and Treavor - the morning of Jeshurun's newest birthday...being born-again!

January 9th and 10th are now very important days on our family calendar!  Yesterday (the 9th), Jeshurun, our oldest (6 years), repented of his sins and believes in Jesus!  He has committed his life to follow Jesus and acknowledge him as Lord!  Wow!  We are turning a new chapter in parenting...completely new territory.

Jeshurun's name means "upright one" in Hebrew.  Since he was in the belly, we have heard God speak his plans for Run to be one who walks in God's ways and not his own.  This week, we are seeing him take a huge step towards following Jesus the rest of his life.  It is a truly exciting time!

Today, the 10th, we baptized him at a local swimming pool!  The S-clan and our friend, P. Nit, were there to witness it and celebrate with us.  Treavor's Dad, Carl, is in town - so he got to see it as well!

As you look at pictures and celebrate with us from afar, please pray for him to grow up mightily in the Spirit and to really fall more in love with Jesus with every passing day!

practicing for the dunk

Treavor leading Run in a confession of faith

going down...

...coming up! new life!

he was overjoyed!

praying for his new life in Christ

his friends and brother laid hands on him!  what a company of friends!

family shot

what a celebration!  surrounded by friends and family...a day to really remember!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Second-hand Beauty

When the New Year rolls around, we always hear, "Throw out the old and bring in the new!"  On many levels, I agree with that old adage.  But, when it comes to decorating my house, the "old" doesn't need to be thrown out, per say...but re-arranged.

Treavor's Dad, Carl, is flying here tomorrow.  He is in Vietnam visiting friends and relatives, and decided to come visit us for five whole days.  We are thrilled!  This will be our third time seeing him since we left the States.  It has been so encouraging to get to spend time with him here in southeast Asia.  We feel like a little bit of home is coming.  

Kyla, Carl, Run and Huy last year in January

In preparation for his stay here at our house, we are organizing and cleaning a ton.  I am convinced that house-guests keep my house sane.  If a house can be deemed "sane," anyway.  You know what I mean?  When we know people are coming, suddenly the piles and dust bunnies are more obvious...and we have much more motivation to make our home comfortable and beautiful.  

We have a table in the front room of our house that is one of those "catch-all" places.  It is anything but beautifully adorned.  Most days, it is piled with junk: loose change, school books, receipts, broken toys...

But, today I had a burst of energy and tried to revitalize it a bit.

As The Nester would say, I "shopped the house" and found odds and ends, brought them together, and made a little more sense out of that front table.

simple.  clutter-free.  a great improvement (too bad I didn't take a "before" picture!)

this tablecloth was a very-welcomed hand-me-down from our house-mate, Kat, when she left Thailand

this picture of us was taken by Vikki when Treavor and I were dating.  this frame was another welcomed hand-me-down from Glen when he left Thailand.  now Glen and Kat (see table-cloth) are engaged.  just a random bit of trivia for ya.  they are all generous people.

these bride and groom figurines were given to us right before we left South Korea almost 7 years ago.  they are some of my favorite things ever.

the Willow Tree new mommy was given to us by Treav's mom and I gave Treav the one on the right as a "new dad" gift when Run was born.  so sweet.

this funky vase was another hand-me-down from Kat when she left.  i told you she was generous!

these pussy-willow branches were nearly free.  i bought three bunches this week at a roadside market for $1.50.  the seller said they would last almost a year.  gorgeous!  and, so cheap!

If you are frustrated with an area of your home, try and "shop the house" and see what things you can find to bring together and bring new life to your home!  I am, honestly, a novice at this, but I am not content to just continue on in my decorating handicap.  Take a risk today!  You might be really surprised at the outcome!

Monday, January 2, 2012

He's Breathing New Life Into The Dead Places Again (Guest Post)

Today, I am pleased to introduce Stephanie, from the S-clan and Joy In The Blink, as my first-ever guest blogger!  I asked her to write down some of her thoughts on the new year, and she thrilled me (as always) with this post.  Don't forget to head over to her blog after reading to check out more of her writing at Joy In The Blink.

photo credit

There’s something wonderful about being at the beginning. A new marriage, a new baby, a new house, a new canvas.
Then, one of two things happens: the newness wears off and I get bored, or (the worst thing) I mess it up so badly that what I prized about the newness is forever lost. I like new because it speaks of untold possibilities. They’re endless, but what I hate most about myself is the projects I have started that end up looking so messy.
I have been thinking a lot lately about how many things I have already messed up: decisions I have made that can’t be undone, words I have said to friends that I can’t take back, dollars spent that can’t be returned, mistakes I have made in child-rearing that my children will need God to meet them in.
And I am faced again with this bitter truth: I am not perfect.
Oh, how I hate that!
New means possibility, but once I grace (OK, touch) the canvas, I usually feel like I am woefully inept to execute the beautiful work of art I see in my mind. And I fail time and time again to be the image-bearer of Christ that I want to be.
My grandest aspirations end up looking like my kids’ finger-painting gone-awry.
And so I hold it up to God. Like my kids, I need the affirmation that comes from the Father.
And he takes it, makes it new, calls it beautiful, and shows me what a work of beauty he can make from my messes and failures.
It’s the work of resurrection, and its happening now.
So as I process this coming year, I look again at the threads of life I am working with, and I am again dealing with how often we begin in the middle of things with neither beginning nor end in sight. But He’s breathing new life into the dead places again. A new year, a new beginning, a wonderful reminder of the fresh start I am given each day in Him.
What kinds of things are you doing to start fresh this year?
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