Saturday, April 23, 2016

Summertime Fun.

The glorious summer days of Thailand are upon us, and this year we made a new addition to our family: a pool!


Although this pool is only a week old, the sand pit, bikes, and balls are almost a distant memory. Within minutes of Paul waking up, he is quick to mention water in the hopes of immediately going swimming. :-)

Of course the kids have spent hours playing and splashing around in the water. For the most part they really do play well together even though the picture above makes it look like Ellie is giving Paul a thump on the head!





Saturday, March 19, 2016

Appreciation.

I appreciate many things: iced coffee, fresh produce, a clean floor, time to read a book, and more. But lately I've been appreciating my kids. (It is a tad ironic that I'm writing about my kids as I sit at a coffee shop, taking a quick breather by myself. Did I mention I appreciate irony?!) 

The last week or so we've been in the thick of potty training. Paul has caught on to the concept of going #1, but is still (ahem) very clueless about going #2. Several messes later, and we're scratching our heads hopelessly all the while praying for some break through. Ellie has been very hesitant about the potty, so the party was real this morning as we hooted and cheered her on. Let me tell you, chocolate chips are worthy of going potty! As we've pushed through this week, I thought about how my kids are growing up... learning new skills... developing into the little people God intends them to be. I have the joy of watching them grow and encouraging them to keep growing.

But as I've been cheering them on, I've also had a verse running through my mind  that has been convicting:

Proverbs 29:15 - "... a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame."

The other day one of my children needed correction and to be honest, I didn't want to take the time to deal with it. But this verse came to the forefront of my mind and I realized leaving my child to do their own thing would bring shame. 

A while ago a friend and I were texting about child training and she said, "You can't let [my child] win.  [My child] is giving you ready made opportunities to teach [my child] to obey.  The sting of correction has to be worse than the pleasure of [my child's] disobedience in order for it to work.  By God's grace you can and later when [my child] is older you'll be glad you fought these battles now."

That conversation was months ago, but I've referenced it often as I try to teach and train my children. None of us are perfect, and some days I feel like a big failure and mess. But then when I see my children grow in an area they've struggled to obey in, I'm encouraged to keep pressing on and not give up. Too much is at stake!


Sunday, March 13, 2016

Gentle Pruning.

I had the wind knocked out of my sails earlier today. Sometimes communication is a blessing and sometimes... it's not. My spirits were low, Nat is sick, and Paul had a potty training disaster (think walls smeared brown). But as we started our service, the first song I glanced at was an immediate comfort:

In times like these you need a Saviour,
In times like these you need an anchor;
Be very sure, Be very sure,
Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock!

This Rock is Jesus, Yes, He's the One,
This Rock is Jesus, The only One;
Be very sure, Be very sure,
Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock.

As if that wasn't enough, the next song prodded a little further:

All for Jesus! All for Jesus!
All my being's ransomed pow'rs.
All my tho'ts and words and doings,
All my days and all my hours.
All for Jesus! All for Jesus! 
All my days and all my hours.
All for Jesus! All for Jesus! 
All my days and all my hours.

Let my hands perform His bidding,
Let my feet run in His ways;
Let my eyes see Jesus only,
Let my lips speak forth His praise.
All for Jesus! All for Jesus!
Let my lips speak forth His praise.

And then as only the Lord can do, the message we listened to was spot on and just what I needed to hear. I love how God is intentional about meeting my specific needs. I don't necessarily enjoy going through some discomfort, but I know it's for my good and for His Glory. I'm grateful to say the Lord brought me out of a slump, reminded me of the grace that has been bestowed on me, and encouraged me to step back in the fight. Praise the Lord for His Gentle pruning.


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.