Friday, April 19, 2013

An Adventure We Never Planned: In Our Own Front Yard...Honey!

Mystery revealed...what in the world IS this stuff? 

If you follow me on Instagram (wait, you don't?  click here!), then you saw that I posted another version the above picture.  I didn't tell you what it was...until this post.


Wait a minute...that isn't exactly accurate...

It was roasted honeycomb...freshly cut from the tree in our front yard...with...


Seriously?  Let me describe was surprisingly salty (though, my friend did sprinkle it with salt on both sides...but not that much).  It was chewy.  It was crunchy.  It was...sticking to my teeth.  Instead of the honeycomb stuck to my teeth, I was pretty sure it was larvae membranes sticking to my teeth.  How's that for earthy-granola-cuisine?  I feel so green right now.

How in the world did we get fresh honeycomb?  This guy...

Our courageous new friend, honeycomb in hand.

One of our friends invited her husband to come over a few days ago to help us out with yard work.  He pruned trees and picked weeds and such.  While watering the grass, he happened to look up and notice our large beehive up in one of the front trees (not in the one Run normally climbs, praise the Maker)!  He assured me that he could cut it down for me and get the honey. Who am I to argue?  So, I let him!  He grabbed the ladder, hiked up his shirt collar, and found some gloves and a motorcycle helmet for extra protection.  After soaking the bees with water from the hose (whaaaaa?), he said the bees' wings would be too wet to fly much and they wouldn't bother with him during the harvesting.  He was so right.  Not one sting.

Cutting the honeycomb to reveal the goodness inside...

How beautiful is that?  I can't believe that honey was just hanging in our front yard! 

Half of the comb was filled with this gorgeous honey!  How's that for organic, un-filtered, raw honey?  Over toast or a bagel...aaah...I am drooling.

Muscle-power to squeeze the honey out of the comb.

All he did to retrieve the honey was to squeeze the comb in his hands and catch it in a big bowl of ours.  The kids all ditched school to watch the whole process with me.  Seriously, who has time for addition facts when this is going on?!
Our new friend was so full of joy that the kids fell in love with him instantly...and...he gave them fresh honey, so I am sure that doesn't count against him, either!
The squeezing wasn't too meticulous of a job, so the honey comb, leftover bees and stick parts had to be filtered out...

Separating the honey.  I just happened to have a honey jar lying around, actually.  Though, maybe I should re-label it to "100% Pure Thai Honey."

When this was over, my friend (the wife) said that the honeycomb would be delicious if I roasted it.  Of course!  Why didn't I think of that?  I had fresh honeycomb before and loved it...roasted would be even better.  Boy, was I surprised of what was hiding inside this other part of the honeycomb...

The honeycomb before baking.  I saw a few larvae poking out, but had no idea that when it roasted (a truly heavenly smell, by the way)...that the comb would turn into this...(check it out below)...

It is like the larvae swelled up and were just popping out of the comb.  My friend was thrilled.  I was scared.  Honesty, people.

After just ten minutes of roasting, we had this honeycomb to share.  My friend tasted it, I had some, and the boys each tasted it as well.  They didn't like it, per se, but I am impressed with their desire to be adventurous eaters.  They challenge me, most of the time, to eat things that I would never dream of liking.  Asia is changing our views of what is "normal."  That is one of the huge benefits of being here...we realize that our worldview and opinions on most things are heavily influenced by the culture we're around.  It makes me wonder what kind of men (and woman) they will be.  I am excited!

After we roasted the comb, our new friend took the remaining comb he had squeezed honey from, reattached it to the original branch, rigged it back up into the tree, and didn't get bit.  Even once.  Astounding! 

Our friend's husband reattached the old comb back to the same main branch because he said that if the queen bee hadn't left yet, that the whole swarm would be attracted to the honey there and start another home.  I had no idea!  This time, instead of wishing the bees would just go away, I am sort of hoping they'll stay so we can recreate this adventure again and get more delicious, free honey. 

The hoard of bees waiting to reclaim their place.  I actually hope they stay!

That was the end of the adventure that we never planned...right in our own front yard!  I wonder what the next one will be like...

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Water Fight - A Story In Pictures (repost)

:: Two years ago, I blogged about how we celebrated one of the biggest Thai holidays of the year, Songkran.  As we prepare for this year's water fight in the New City, I am reminded of this post.  If you wanna see my boys two years younger in this blast from the past...or never got to read ya go!  This post was from April 15th, 2011 ::

Songkran (click for more info) happened a few days ago.  Well, really, in the bigger cities here in Thailand, they celebrate for three and sometimes five days straight!  In our teensy-weensy town, the water fight lasts one day - but, man, it is FUN!

Here's a look into the action (I took a drive right outside our little street and locked the doors to make sure nobody pelted me and my camera with a bucket of water!)...

Run and Huy, dressed in classic Songkran attire

They're ready!

The first shot.

Run snuck around to our neighbor's house to get a surprise shot...this poor, unsuspecting boy was dutifully washing his father's truck...when Run strikes!

After study-time, Daddy joins in...and they walk up the road to the main event!

In our town, the place when EVERYONE plays is 7-eleven, the land of Slurpees.

The sidewalks were full of people hanging out.

People get on their motorbikes and pile into pick-up trucks to drive down the road...squirting others, and getting drenched, themselves.

These kids had colored talcum powder that they smeared onto unsuspecting passers-by.  My doors were locked!  Haha!

The road was full for a few miles...

And then, I spotted them!  Treav and the boys were in the back of our friend's pick-up, having a BLAST (no pun intended)!

"Get Mommy's car!!!"

Later that afternoon, we headed to some friends' house in a nearby town to play some more!

Our friends had some Thais and foreigners over to eat MEXICAN food.  The kitchen was full! was the eating room.

The boys and M, another foreigner, going to town with the water guns. 

They blessed the food...

...and BOY!  Did we have a feast, or what!?!

Fun, food, and friends; a great end to a great day!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Finding a Lost Treasure by Hearing His Voice (Part Two)


(This post is part two of a story.  Part one can be read here.)

...One day, several weeks ago, while ruthlessly attacking the mountain of dishes in my sink, I was listening to a sermon. I frequently do this to pass the time.  I had downloaded Bethel's free sermon of the week and was listening to the beginning.  They sometimes have a short testimony time at the beginning of some of the teachings, and this testimony time was about to rock my world.  I just didn't know it yet.

Bill Johnson was sharing about some amazing miracles that were happening in their midst and to some people whom they knew from other fellowships.  People were praying for God to bring back lost treasures, and He was doing it

One of the testimonies was of a person who lost their wedding ring in the sea.  They were praying for it to come back to them somehow, when they looked up from their prayer time and saw it lying on a pillow on their bed. 

I started weeping while hearing testimony after testimony of lost treasures being found.  I held up my soapy hands and pleaded with God to somehow bring my necklace back to me.  It isn't worth a ton of money, or is the most beautiful necklace in the world, but it is precious to me.  My Father cares about the things that mean a lot to me; that mean a lot to all of us.

The God of the Bible is the God of the now. He has done miracles then in the stories that we read, and He has no trouble doing them now; multiplying food, healing from chronic illness and even raising people from the dead is happening in the here and now. We just need faith, partnered with God's power, before we see it happen.

I finished my prayer, returned my soapy hands to the sink and my heart was filled with faith.  Even if I never received my necklace back, I was reminded again of a big God who is more mysterious, powerful and more wonderful than I really know.

Jump ahead in my story to a few weeks after that...

The purse I had been toting around for about a year looked like it had seen too many days, and if I carried it any further, it would surely have fallen right off my shoulders and dragged itself to a trash can. 

So, I decided to buy another one before we went on a trip to see some old friends (thus eliminating my chances of looking somewhat like a hobo...nothing against hobos...I digress...)  I went to the store that equals the Thai version of a Super Walmart and bought myself a 6-dollar purse that will hopefully last for a little while.  Thus, I had to dig through the abyss of my old, dying purse to fill my new, perkier one with all of those things that women have to carry around.

While sifting through Hot Wheel cars, gum wrappers, age-old receipts and lonely crayons that had taken up residence in my purse, I began to finally see the bottom of it.  I began thinking about what I would do with it once I was done.  I pictured myself throwing it in the trash and finally being rid of my sorry-looking bag. 

But, before I did, a Voice stopped me, suddenly. 

He said, "Before you throw it away, make sure to look under the lining of your purse.  There might be something precious there that you would regret to overlook."

Within seconds of hearing His sweet Voice, I had a picture in my mind of my necklace hidden below the cloth lining of my purse, just waiting to be found.

Without hesitation, I poured over the dark lining of my purse and happened upon a very small tear in the cloth.  I had never noticed it before.  This wasn't my first time to empty out my bag to find lost car keys or that USB drive that always seems to find it's way to the bottom.  I had poured over this bag before.  But, I had never seen that tear.

Instantly, I ripped open the tear and feasted my eyes upon a beautiful sight: my pearl necklace, with it's silver flashing in the light like it was laughing at me with joy.

I rushed downstairs with tears in my eyes and recounted my testimony to Treavor and a curious Jeshurun who was resting on the couch nearby.  Jeshurun thought I was weeping with sadness, but I assured him that it was with joy that I was so overcome.
"He is so good!  He is so sweet to me!  He is so merciful! Can you believe it?" I shouted, through watery eyes.

The Holy Spirit didn't use an audible voice with me that day, though it isn't unheard of.  But, because I am His sheep, I can hear His voice when He speaks to my heart.  I might as well "baaaaa" for you because I felt more like one of His sheep that day than I had felt in a long time:

“Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them.
Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.
“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.
John 10:1-15

This week, right after Easter, think upon the good Shepherd, who laid His life down for His sheep.  Is He calling to you right now to become a sheep like me?  Or, is He calling you to return to following His voice again?  More than that, is there something that you are needing more faith for, and want to hear the Shepherd's Voice building you up again?

Get quiet and listen, and be ready to see Him work some miracles in your heart and in your life. 


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Part Two Postponed a Day: Here's My White Flag, Headache!

Hello!  My name is Alina, and I have a splitting headache.

I had planned to finish writing Part Two of "Finding a Lost Treasure by Hearing His Voice," and post it tonight...but...this headache is causing me to not think very clearly and just want to crawl up into bed for the night.  Call me a wimp, or blame it on the baby...your choice.  ;)

So, for any of you (Bueller? Bueller?) who were waiting for the climax ending...I am sorry.

And for everyone else who is just getting to reading this next week...just click to the next post and forget I ever told you about my momentary loss of mental energy.

Good night.  That is all.  See you all tomorrow (and, really, this time the last post will be there!)

And, pray for my headache, will ya?

Thanks a million,

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Finding a Lost Treasure by Hearing His Voice (Part One)

If I were ultra-organized and/or crafty...I think my scatty brain could benefit from this. (Photo Credit)

Last summer, I lost a precious pearl. 

Actually, make that my third pearl lost.  I really need to eat some more ginkgo biloba supplements or something for my forgetfulness. 

When we were married almost 9 years ago, Treavor bought me a stunning pair of Japanese pearl earrings.  One time, during a move to a different house across town, I left them (brilliant idea, I know), in a dresser drawer. During the chaos of the move I thought they'd be safe there.  After we unpacked and inspected every part of that dresser, the earrings were nowhere to be found.  I cried some bitter tears that night.

Then, my friend, Summer, graciously gave Treavor a new pair of pearl earrings for him to give to me for our wedding anniversary.  They were equally stunning and I was so humbled.  I still have that pair, praise God.

But, two years ago on my birthday, Treavor bought me a solitary pearl necklace while we were vacationing in a beachfront town here in Thailand.  I loved it!  It was a mainstay in my wardrobe, but I still hadn't learned my lesson just yet.  During our trip to the States last summer, I took off my necklace and placed it "somewhere."  We were two weeks out from leaving to fly back to Thailand and I swore I would find it when we went through our stuff to repack. 


The necklace was nowhere to be found.

The bitter tears flowed again as I kicked myself and repented to Treavor.  How in the world could I be so careless again and give up something that I treasured?  I vainly hoped that it would "turn up" somewhere in our stuff once we unpacked again and that my shame would be forgotten. 


It had been about eight months since the bags were put away and all of my hopes for finding my necklace were packed away with them...

...until a few weeks ago, when a Voice told me where to find my lost treasure.

(to be continued tomorrow...check back to hear this incredibly faith-building story!)

Read Part Two Here!

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