Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A Friend Who Makes That Good Kind of Heartache

P. Fon, myself, sweet Charis, Treav and P. Ton hanging out last Saturday at our place. I have an eight-year old and bad lighting to thank for this grainy shot...but I am so thankful to have a memory of that night.

Every once in a while, you find a friend that fills you with the good kind of heartache. Do you know what I mean? That kind of heartache that you feel when you miss the person so much it hurts a little (and sometimes a lot).  For reasons such as, well, life...you can't visit them very often or chat on the phone or sit and have tea and talk about all the sorts of little things you've been storing up inside your heads.

About four years ago, I met a fabulous woman who almost instantly became that kind of friend.  P. Fon wasn't just my new Thai language teacher.  She was my helper in all my incorrect and cultural faux pas. She showed me that Thai people didn't all fit into one neat little box.  She delighted me with her parenting skills and humbled me with the way she respected and honored and cherished her aged parents.  She had fun with me and our family. She helped me to feel free to share about the tender things of the heart with the ability to finish my sentences in English where I was incredibly insufficient in using Thai.  She laughed at me when I mixed up all my Thai letters and rolled her eyes when I said them all wrong.  All wrong.

When we left our first home in the south of Thailand, she was among the handful of people I was so tearful to be missing as we moved on to another city.  And, when I lost my cell phone with her number in it (before those long ago days of pre-Facebook...well...before I ever got on Facebook, anyway)...I had a brief scare that I would never get to talk with her again about a stupid question or a even just a story to share.  Thankfully, Treavor had her number stored in his phone and I was able to keep in touch just a little (with a forgetful brain like mine, those conversations were few and far between).

To my delight and utter surprise, we heard through a friend that she and her family were going to be visiting our city over New Year's!  Really?!  What joy!

And when I finally got to see her, her kind husband, her suddenly grown-up little girl and the new son I had never laid eyes on, my heart leapt.  My friend was back.  Even if only for a day or so, I could connect again, face-to-face with one of the only Thai people that I could imagine being the most perfect big sister a girl could ever ask for.

I missed you, P. Fon!  Hope to see you again very, very soon!  I think another trip down south is in order for this New Year. By God's grace, we will brave the day-long trip again and get to sit again, drinking instant coffee, asking each other language questions, laughing at our children and smiling at each other with big, free smiles.


Monday, January 6, 2014

2014 is a New Start

Wouldn't life be grand if the toy area always looked like this? These are the bulk of our toys post "The Great Toy Purge of 2013". 

Treavor and I got a head start on the New Year toward the end of December 2013. You see, we have five sets of people/family units/relations coming to stay with us in first six weeks of this year, and being the Messies we are, the house needed a good shake down. In fact, Christmas Day's evening was spent initiating a toy purge. We have done this for the third year running and it. is. awesome. We go through toys, ditch the ones that have been long forgotten, throw away the bent paper airplanes, broken action figures and dust bunnies...and then consider our storage space (with the goal being not to buy more boxes to fill, but to stay within those boundaries instead).  It was so liberating, as it always is.

From that day on, we spent a good part of each day sifting through piles of papers, pulling out guest blankets and sheets, rearranging, and cleaning. We even enlisted a friend to help (one whose gifting it is to be a great organizer and cleaner!).

So, when our friends Glen and Kat arrived last Saturday to stay for the week, we felt like we could finally breathe and not have to wish with baited breath that they wouldn't open our cupboards and find themselves at the bottom of the junk pile that had just fallen on them.  We are working on being hospitable and tidy people.  Help us, Jesus.

I can't tell you enough, but it is so wonderful to have clean, empty spaces!  Growing up, it was my tendency to feel like a shelf or a table or a space was for filling with some kind of junk. Can anyone else relate? It was as if an empty table was screaming, "PLEASE put junk mail and books and papers and all your loose change, etc. etc. etc. on me!"

It has been a week since we rearranged almost every corner of this house, and there have been a few lazy days of not putting things away as we have rushed from this meeting to this meal to that errand, etc.  The clutter is starting to, well, clutter up our empty spaces.  One week into our New Year and it already seems we're back to our old ways.  We didn't make a resolution, exactly, but are wanting to seriously change our ways so that our children don't inherit our messy tendencies and struggle with it for the rest of their lives. 

Have any tips for us? Leave a comment below...or you can just wallow around in the dilemma with us and leave me with an "Amen!" if you're struggling with the same thing.  Either way, I'd love to hear from ya!

Here's to a brand spankin' New Year!  God's got some wild things in store for us here, I just know it!

Thanks for reading,

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