Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Our Days.

Here's a quick peek into our lives from the last several days... 


I've been enjoying doing some daily scripture writing and I love the little nuggets that come out as I read and write. 


We've been (slowly) working on our little plot of ground out front. Last week we had some dirt delivered, but we have to break up the clumps. The other day our neighbor boys came over to help! Next step is to get some sod down.


Hardly a day goes by that we are not visiting the playground. The kids love to play on the equipment and the local school kids love to play with Paul and Ellie. :-)


The other day I found this rather humorous as I was waiting to make a u-turn. This was the third bus to do the u-turn and he did much better than the first two! Anything goes around here. 


My teacher and I were studying Thai out on our porch on Tuesday when Ellie came out looking like a cowgirl!


We went to the playground today and it just so happened to be recess for local school kids. Everyone loves Ellie!


Meanwhile Paul enjoyed playing ball with some boys... Or running away from them. ;-)


So cute! Thai kids do a great job taking care of my little people and loving on them.


We found a new restaurant here in our town. As in, only 3 miles away! Coffee shop, great smoothies, Thai and western food, and lovely ambience means we'll be back! I'm so glad we didn't have to drive 45 minutes away like we usually do. The smoothies were kid-approved and we walked away with no spills, no broken dishes, and calm children. That's a good restaurant visit in my book. :-)

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Victory In Jesus.

An old, sweet hymn ministered to my heart today. Perhaps in part because we had a friend accompanying on the guitar. All of our singing is done without any music, so the guitar playing was a wonderful treat. But oh the words to this hymn! So familiar, and yet so fresh. The wonder of salvation is all about Him, because He is the one who sought me. Praise the Lord for Victory In Jesus!

I heard an old, old story, How a Saviour came from Glory,
How He gave His life on Calvary To save a wretch like me;
I heard about His groaning, Of His precious blood's atoning,
Then I repented of my sins And won the victory.

O victory in Jesus, my Saviour, forever,
He sought me and bought me, With His redeeming blood;
He loved me ere I knew Him And all my love is due Him,
He plunged me to victory, Beneath the cleansing flood.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Family Time.

We try hard to keep Wednesday as our family day. Even then, something may come up. This past Wednesday was no exception, but by 10 AM, we were ready for to go. 


Our first stop was a strawberry farm Nat recently saw and wanted to check out. The fields were pretty, and the lake out front with the mountains in the back made for a second glance.


Paul took one look at this tractor and knew he had to check it out. Fascination with farm equipment is in his blood!


Of course we had to stop to let our little celebrity have her picture taken. :-)



Amazingly enough, this place is also a resort! So if staying in a strawberry house is your thing... Here you go!


The mountains fascinate me. Such mystery and intrigue...



All in all, it was a wonderful, refreshing day!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Visual Antics.

I thought I would give another picture update of what life has been like around here! Starring Paul and Ellie, of course...


Ellie is the new owner of a little bike her size! (Paul seems to think he is partial owner.)


The first sunrise of 2016 was stunning! Actually almost every morning offers a spectacular show, but unfortunately a camera just can't capture what the human eye can see. 


Paul thought this was a great place to eat his morning snack, and Ellie did too. It's so sweet to watch these two do things together.


We got a laugh out of this one. One of the men Nat is working with received two boxes from Operation Christmas Child. Since his kids are older, he gave them to us for our kids! From America to Thailand, and currently on the way to another country now. :-)


Ellie is definitely watching her older brother and following in his steps - both good and bad. She figured she could stand on the fence too.


While Nat got his hair cut, this sweet lady entertained the kids, mainly by giving them little tangerines.


Thirty minutes later, and the kids started to get restless. Running off steam on the barber's front porch was a great solution! 

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Unchanging Grace.

Sweet words are found in the old hymn, "The Solid Rock" and ministered to my heart this morning:

When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.

When the storms of life come (not if, but when!), sometimes I feel alone. I'm not wrestling with a particular struggle or trial right now, but I suppose that's why the words of this song captivated me. At times, darkness does hide His face. But His grace doesn't change. Ever. Isn't that precious?! That's what I'm thinking about today ~ the amazing grace of my God.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year!

There's something so fresh about a new year, and I do believe this is the most excited I've been over January 1st in a really long time. I am not a to-do list, goal setting type of person. That would be my husband. :-) But I've actually set some goals in a few areas of my life and I even wrote them down! That right there is a major accomplishment for me. (It helps having a cute journal given by a sweet friend!) So now I'm exited to see some of these goals accomplished throughout the year. 

I should do a quick review from the last month, though. We put our Christmas decorations up the day after Thanksgiving, and that really gave a festive feel to the house! My mom left in the beginning of December, after a lovely month-long visit. Immediately after she left, we enjoyed lots of cool weather. Figures! Poor Mom was pretty warm when she was here. We've decided to stop telling people when it's "cool" here, because we've adapted and now have a new definition of cool! 

Wednesday is our family day, and recently we have really enjoyed taking some scenic drives around the different mountains in our area. This past Wednesday we stumbled upon a resort and restaurant on a river with gorgeous views all around. The cashew nut chicken was fabulous and the creative handiwork of our God was incredible. What a blessing to enjoy living in this beautiful country.

And now? Now it's a new day, new month, and new year. Praise God for new beginnings! 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Joy.

Some Sundays I have a really hard time remembering that it is Sunday. Today was one of those days. During my quiet time, I begged the Lord to give me that "joy" in serving Jesus. Admittedly, my joy was lacking the last day or so. What changed? Not God. No, it was definitely me that moved.

As we started our service, I sang the first hymn with one eye on the hymn book and one eye on two reluctantly-seated children. Going through the motions, you know? But then my glance fell upon the hymn on the opposite page and when Nat asked me for a favorite, I said "Once For All". 

As we sang, the words ministered to my heart:

Free from the law, O happy condition,
Jesus has bled and there is remission,
Cursed by the law and bruised by the fall,
Grace hath redeemed us once for all.


Refrain
Once for all, O sinner, receive it,
Once for all, O brother, believe it;
Cling to the cross, the burden will fall,
Christ hath redeemed us once for all.


Now we are free, there’s no condemnation,
Jesus provides a perfect salvation.
“Come unto Me,” O hear His sweet call,
Come, and He saves us once for all.


“Children of God,” O glorious calling,
Surely His grace will keep us from falling;
Passing from death to life at His call;
Blessed salvation once for all.

After we finished singing this song, my mom chose "What A Friend We Have In Jesus" - a song very dear to my heart. The Lord was answering my prayer as my perspective slowly shifted from my bad attitude to what He has done for me! The things of this earth tend to fade away whenever I turn my gaze to Calvary. We finished our service out with a message on the grace of God and by the time it was over, the joy was back! Praise God. How good and patient He is with me.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Amazing Thailand!

Prior to getting married, I lived in Thailand for a year working with some missionaries. When I first returned to the States after that year, all I could talk about was Thailand. I didn't realize how much I was talking about Thailand until a family member said, "Umm, Thailand is all you ever talk about."

Oops!

That first visit was a long time ago (over 8 years ago!) and since then I have come to love this country in a big way. From the distinct smell and humidity that engulfs you when you step out of the airport, to the cacophony of sounds coming from every direction, Thailand is like no other country I have visited.

Some of the ladies over at Baptist Missionary Women are sharing interesting tidbits about their countries, and so I thought I would jump in and share Thailand with you. After all, I couldn't stop talking about it before! ;-)

1.) The normal Thai greeting is the wai. My daughter does a much better job doing the wai than my son does!

2.) Iced drink shops are everywhere here! Coffee, bubble tea, smoothies... you name it and someone probably has a shop for it! My Thai tutor explained it's because it is so hot here that people feel cool and refreshed with an iced drink.That works for me!


~my kids love this part of the culture~

3.) Blonde-haired, little Americans are a magnet. I'm serious! I am stopped several times a week by someone asking if they can take a picture of my kids. Around here, my kids are constantly called dolls, particularly Ellie!




4.) You will see "Amazing Thailand" printed on many tourist items (hats, shirts, etc), and for good reason. This country has a rugged beauty. No, there are no snow-capped mountain tops, but there's plenty of breath-taking valleys and lush rice paddies. I especially love seeing a rice paddy with new shoots. So fresh and green!


~this rice is just about ready to be harvested~


~"the sleeping lady"~


~each evening brings a spectacular sunset~

5.) Who doesn't love Thai food?!? My favorite Thai dish is chicken fried rice with freshly-squeezed lime. Yum!


6.) On any given day in any given neighborhood, someone is driving around peddling their wares. The best I've ever seen was full-sized wardrobes on the back of a pick-up truck (who looks out their window and thinks, "Oh, look! They're selling wardrobes on that pickup truck! I've been meaning to buy one.") We also buy some of our vegetables from a lady hauling them around on her motorcycle cart. And then of course you can buy tarps, ladders, or brooms, depending on the day. :-)

7.) Speaking of motorcycles, that is a main method of transportation for many people... and things. I am always impressed at the creativity of Thai people and how they can fit quite a bit on a motorcycle.



8.) In the market or at the grocery store, you will see lots of interesting things. Never a dull moment in going shopping here!


~in the grocery store~




~at the market~

9.) Often I will see Thai people wearing a coat, pants, socks, and a hat --- in 90* weather! Thai people don't like sun burn, so they will completely cover up. Even then, sometimes I'll see an umbrella just as an extra precaution!

10.) Let's face it - Thailand is hot. We've acclimated over the last two years, and now think low 70s is downright chilly. But give us 88 degree weather, and we only need a fan! Praise God for air conditioning for when the humidity makes it feel like 100 degrees!

Now that you're done here, head on over to April's blog and see what it's like for her! 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Hug.


I feel like God gave me a hug this week, just to remind me that He loves and cares for me. What a kind Father! So here are some of my hugs:


Our weather on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday stayed in the mid-60s and it was glorious! I love the cozy feel of being in a warm house on a cold day. The sky had that overcast look when it's going to snow (not that it did!), I had some music playing, candles burning, and comfort food cooking on the stove. We pulled out the slippers and socks, and the kids enjoyed wearing long-sleeves again. Why is this a hug? I grew up in Pennsylvania, where I enjoyed having four seasons. Thailand is the land of perpetual summer, so I was thrilled to have some cool weather, particularly since my brain knows it's October. ;-)

Hug.


Earlier this year we stopped by a yard sale in Chiang Mai. A family was moving back to the states and wanted to get rid of some stuff. The yard sale was well attended, but somehow this little gem was overlooked by everyone! Not only do I love Yankee Candles, one of my favorites is Sparkling Cinnamon. Sure, the candle was half-used, but I didn't mind paying $1.00 for it! And now I have it as a reminder that God truly cares about the little things.

Hug.


Most evenings we go for a bike ride and usually catch a beautiful sunset. By the time I took this picture, the sun was just about gone, but God has given amazing scenery as a backdrop to our neighborhood!

Hug.



Any parent can tell you kids are a lot of work, but these two really do bring me so much joy! It's so fun to hear them giggling together. I love watching them play together. I pray they grow up being best friends. I have such great memories with my siblings, and I want these two to experience that.

Hug. 

And then this morning? My brother called me.

Big hug!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

What a Friend...

We sang "What a Friend We Have in Jesus" during our time of Bible study this morning, and the words ministered to my heart in such a sweet way. I'm not discouraged at the moment or going through a trial (watch out, Anne! right?), but sometimes home and friends seem very far away from my little corner of the world. But what a precious thought that Jesus is my friend and I can take everything to Him in prayer - right here. Let the words of this song minister to your heart like they did to mine today...


What a friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!
Oh, what peace we often forfeit,
Oh, what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer!

Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged -
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful,
Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness;
Take it to the Lord in prayer.

Are we weak and heavy-laden,
Cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge -
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?
Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In His arms He'll take and shield thee,
Thou wilt find a solace there.