Saturday, June 27, 2015

These Two Little Munchkins.

A quick photo shoot last Sunday morning paused time for a brief moment -- one very brief moment!

These two munchkins kick the activity level up a notch around here and their giggles fill our home from before sunup until after dark. Even then, after two little bodies are safely tucked into their beds, we'll occasionally hear from a little boy adding his two cents to our conversations. Both of them are such adventure-seekers and Ellie delights in having us look for her, and then screams with delight when we find her crawling to the top of the stairs.

Of course dirt and mud beckon Paul's name and he simply can't resist. I often find him squatting over a pile of rocks, twigs, or dirt - intently focused on the important task at hand. 

And this girl. Whoa. Ever since her birthday, her little personality has really developed. Gone is "baby" and taking her place is a toddler who can't quite keep up with big brother yet --- but she is determined to try! 

My days are filled with childish laughter (and tears), food smeared on the floor ("oops!" I hear), training and teaching ("please put this away") and lots and lots of hugs and snuggles. Always, always worth it, although some mornings I don't hop out of bed with a bright smile on my face when I hear our bedroom door being slammed open by a very awake little boy. ;-)

Yep, I love my job!

Friday, June 26, 2015


We're moving in four days. 

It goes without saying my emotions have gone all the way from elation to tears, sometimes within the same hour! What an unreliable indicator of truth.

On the one hand, we are incredibly excited as we take the next step forward in reaching out to people groups in SE Asia. So many brand-new opportunities and connections await us. How thrilling!

And, of course, there's the other hand. The hand that tugs on my emotional heartstrings. For instance, this picture:

These two little guys are Sunday buddies. As in, they play together each Sunday and have done so for over a year. Us moving four hours north is putting an abrupt end to the adventures in toddler-hood these two share. {Well, it would come to an end soon anyway since the other little boy's parents are returning to the states for furlough but ... I digress.} 

We've put down some roots in Chiang Mai - 19 months of roots. We've gotten to know and love so many people, visited many unique places, hosted our first visitors here, made memories with Paul, and of course Ellie was born here. We stumbled through language learning (oh wait, I'm still stumbling!), had some cultural boo-boos, and were a source of endless entertainment for our neighborhood.

By focusing on the past though, I'm not going to make forward traction. Instead, I'm going to get sentimental thinking through memories, but not adjusting to a new set of adventures. 

And so.... I choose to be excited about this new step ahead of us. Of course that doesn't mean part of my heart isn't being left behind in Chiang Mai. It is. Just like a part of my heart is in Pennsylvania. But I can't wait to begin putting down some new roots and making new memories in a new place. Oh, and the people we will meet! I want them to come to Heaven with me. So it's time to dig up those roots and plant them somewhere new. Souls are waiting.

Our new city

Our new house - please come visit us!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Doing What They Love To Do.

While not the best quality, I love how this picture captures my two kiddos doing what they love to do: play with plastic containers and cooking. These two keep me on my toes and there are plenty of times throughout the day when the same lesson is taught over and over again (to me, haha!), but it's so fun to watch these little personalities grow and develop!!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

A Quick Update.

The silence on my blog has a lot to do with a very busy month or so! We participated in two different camps and then had friends from our church visit for two weeks. Now that we're settling back in to a routine, it's time to dust off the blog... with pictures, of course. I'm so consistent!

This dear lady and her husband encouraged our hearts over and over again during their visit

Of course our kids took right to them, and adopted them as "Grandma" and "Grandpa" 

Trying on big brother's new hat

We were trying to get Paul to turn around for the picture, but he was too enamored with the fish and the water 

The Golden Triangle is where three countries meet: Thailand, Laos, and Burma

Anything will work for a phone, even a remote controller :-)

The quiet, little street just outside our house

Ellie's first time to sit in grass - I don't think she was a fan

Two "firsts" for Paul: flip flops and a baseball cap

Both of these boys love water and had a blast playing together  

Little Miss Ellie celebrated her first birthday while our friends were here!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

My Little Helper.

I'm visualizing breakfast in bed in a few years! This little guy certainly loves to help cook and bake. :-) I love when he pulls the chair out to the kitchen and pushes it right up to the counter or sink. He gets right in there and stirs with all his might or splashes water everywhere. ;-) What precious times to spend with my son.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

New Mercies.

At the start of the new year, I decided to change up my Bible reading a little bit and switched to Bible writing. I enjoy variety and after reading through the Bible two years in a row, I decided I needed to come at it from a new direction.

Lately I've been writing the book of Galatians and I've been enjoying that quite a bit. Hands down, the Apostle Paul is my favorite Bible character (besides Jesus, of course). As I finished out chapter 4 of Galatians, I was captivated by what he had to say in the last verse: 

"So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free."

Simple verse, but it stopped me in my tracks. You see, the start of my Saturday morning was awful. I jumped out of bed at 6:05, intent on a nice cup of iced coffee and my Bible, and by 6:07 I heard Paul's bedroom door opening. I darted up the stairs and found a smiling little boy, ready to start his day. The problem was I wasn't ready for him to start his day! I hoped to get him settled in for a nice, long breakfast by filling his cereal bowl to the top, but instead I was keeping track of just how many milk drops were falling on my freshly-cleaned floor.

Mere minutes later, Nat came down with a smiling Ellie. Apparently my kids didn't get the memo that Saturdays are always our sleep-in day. Hrumph. I offered some coffee to Nat, but he opted to take a shower instead. When he was finished, we switched places. Of course me going to take a shower really means I grab the two baskets of folded laundry that never got put away last night, I quick make the bed, straighten up Ellie's pack-n-play, readjust the position of the fan that got moved yesterday when my cleaning lady was here, take the mosquito racket off the charger, and then go take a shower.

After my shower, I take the laundry basket of towels and go outside to start the load of wash. Glancing around the patio, I see the jump rope was left out, as well as strollers and a soccer ball haphazardly strewn across the patio. Returning inside, I find more food on the floor -- Ellie was chewing her way through a pineapple spear and it must've slipped from her hand -- as well as more milk and cornflakes. Inwardly I feel like crying. Where did my quiet morning go? I had such good intentions to start my day off with the Lord, but my day took off without me!

Nat and I both finally had (made!!) time to spend with the Lord and that's when I came to the verse I mentioned earlier:

"So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free."

Why was I living my day out as if I was a child of the bond woman, enslaved and of the flesh? Ok, so I had a less-than-stellar start to the day. My attitude was slipping down a grumpy slide and I was starting to take it out on my family. But the fact that I am a child of the King should stop my grumblings and complainings, and instead keep things in perspective. It's just one day. And you know what? Even if my kids wake up every morning at 6:10, I still need to make that choice to rejoice. In everything

What a balm to my soul that His mercies are new... Every single morning.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Life From The Phone.

Yep, it's me again. Sharing photos because that's the way it is right now! So, for this week's pictorial update...

I was at the store recently and rummaged through the clothing bin to find Paul a new t-shirt. Of course the one *I* chose didn't have a price tag on it. I thought I would make things easier on the cashier by taking a picture of the price, but that was a no-go. Instead, she pushed a button to make a light come on and finally the guy on roller skates came over to price-check the shirt. A mere 5 minutes later he rolled up with another t-shirt for her to scan. I felt so bad making the people behind me in line wait, but when you find a shirt for your son that isn't too wild or crazy AND is under $2.00, what else can you do?!?

Several months ago on my morning walk, a lady driving by stopped me and in broken English warned me about "the dangerous insects" and asked me to please be careful when I walk down this little street. I thanked her for her kindness, but I really couldn't understand what in the world she was talking about... until a few weeks ago, when I saw this hornet's nest ON this person's house. Ok, yikes, got the memo now! 

You know (or at least I think you know!) of Paul's great love for bike rides, but perhaps you didn't know Ellie is just as big of a fan. Well, actually, she's tiny compared to Paul, but she sure loves zipping around the neighborhood on the bike. Of course those times are few and far between because Paul is such a bike hog. *Ahem.*

Chiang Mai is home to several malls, but this is the only mall (that I know of) that has a roller skating rink. It doesn't amount to very much, but it was enough to draw out the squeals of delight from Paul as he watched the few people skate around. His delight intensified when a young man picked him up and took him out for a spin. Wow, did that make Paul's day or what?!?

Fish, anyone? This is a great price: approximately 2 lbs for $3.66!

I think I mentioned we special-ordered a bedspread to be made for our bed (the other one was on its last legs). It was well worth the wait for our new bedspread and it definitely perks the room up. We're not planning on staying in this house very long, so I don't think the green carpet is going to be a clashing problem in a few months. :-)

Nat took Paul on a walk on Thursday all the way to the market (about a mile away). Paul was clearly tuckered out and enjoyed a nice, long nap in his stroller while we got some Thai language study in. It was a win-win situation! By the way, the second after I took this picture, he stirred and cracked his eyes open. I felt like a kid with my hand caught in the cookie jar. Thankfully he fell back asleep for another 30 minutes. :-)

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Sweet Blessings.

In keeping with all the photo updates I've been doing recently, here's another small one!

Let me share with you a little bit about our youngest family member - our sweet, sweet Ellie-Bellie. This little girl has such a happy disposition about her and is often set down for "just a moment" as the adults in the family attempt to get dinner on the table, sweep the floor, deal with Paul, etc. 

She really is good-natured about the whole thing and is content to interact with the family from her spot on the floor or in her chair. Of course she wants to crawl and time and time again flops forward on her stomach, but hasn't mastered the actual crawl yet. 

She also dearly loves her big brother and tolerates quite a bit from him before she reaches a breaking point. My heart melts every time I watch the two of them share a brother-sister moment and Paul is very, very good about picking up Ellie's toys or bringing her a book. I sincerely hope they will be best friends as they grow up! My siblings are so precious to me and I think Paul and Ellie will have the same relationship.

Last year at this time we were anxiously anticipating our new addition to the family and now I can't imagine life without our little girl! What joy she has brought to our family.

One of the weekly blessings we receive from living in a tropical climate is an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables. I walked down to the store on Saturday night and picked out two kilos of mangoes - all for $1.68. These mangoes will take several days to ripen, but we have plenty since we bought some from the market earlier in the week. Mangoes are the perfect addition to the smoothies we make almost daily. Isn't the Lord good?!?

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Quick Snapshots.

One of the things I love to do is take quick snapshots throughout the day. Of course transferring it from the phone to the blog may take a few weeks, as evidenced by the first picture taken almost a month ago! Anyway, here's a little glimpse into our lives from the past few weeks...

Our neighbors were getting ready to take a trip, so for a few days they worked on making pork jerky. Apparently the sun is so hot here that they are able to cut the pork in thin strips and put it out on the roof of their car for the sun to dry the pork out! I had no idea that's how it's made.

These same neighbors gave Paul some refrigerator magnets that both kids have enjoyed playing with...

... Although more often than not, Ellie enjoys it even more than Paul!

If you look closely, you'll see Paul's beloved ball sitting in the middle of a creek. Paul didn't listen to his daddy and threw the ball in the water. For 45 minutes, Paul was "sure" all we had to do was just get the ball! Eventually some resourceful people spotted long bamboo poles nearby and created a ripple effect, causing the ball to meander to shore... and back into Paul's waiting arms.

Here is the finished product of my story in Thai. My teacher said it wasn't too bad for my first time, so I think that means I need to continue language school!

This little guy is slowly starting to eat more food, and I'm pretty encouraged about that!!

Saturday morning found us at several yard sales and we were excited to find this mini-desk. The lady had just made a sign saying all furniture was 50% off, so we added this to our small - but growing - pile of furniture.

I was also extremely thrilled to find at another yard sale the Longaberger basket pictured above on the right for just thirty cents!!

After a morning of yard saling and buying fruits and veggies at our local market, we stopped by a Mexican restaurant called Sunrise Tacos that just recently opened. I've only ever seen one in Bangkok, so I'm happy to see one open up here in Chiang Mai. :-)

Our other big yard sale find was a bike for Paul and Saturday night he got to test it out.

He obviously needs some practice of keeping his feet on the pedals and actually using the pedals, but he sure enjoyed having something his size!! ;)

Monday, March 2, 2015

Things You Might (Not?) Know...

I'm joining in with the Baptist Missionary Women blog in sharing a few things about me that you just might not know. Once you get done reading, please go visit with Susan - a fellow missionary wife!

So, here are five things you may or may not know about me...

1.) Before we came to live in Thailand, I very seldom let any form of coffee pass my lips. I truly could not stand the taste of it, and went out of my way to avoid it. After our move to Chiang Mai, Thailand, I succumbed to the constant, visual bombardment of coffee shops (they are EVERYWHERE here!) and started trying iced lattes and iced cappuccinos. I found I liked them. Very much so. Sugar has a way of drawing me in. :-) So now I'm working on cutting off my iced cappuccino sugar addiction. Fascinating, right?!?

2.) I love a clean floor - good thing we live in Thailand, because so do the Thai people! Unfortunately, my two kids do not. Particularly during meal time. I have a wonderful cleaning lady come every two weeks who does an amazing job get my floors to shine. I admire her cleaning abilities, because clearly, I cannot compete with her. So Friday she came to clean and everything looked SO NICE!! My husband very sweetly accommodated my request of eating dinner outside to keep the floors clean. So for one meal, my floors sparkled. Saturday morning's breakfast returned them to their normal state... :-)

3.) God perfectly matched my husband and me up because we both enjoy being frugal. Each month we play a little game with our monthly budget. For instance, we have a set amount in our grocery budget, but I try to stretch that grocery money as much as possible so we have something left over at the end of the month. We always wait until the end of the month to see if there's anything left in the grocery budget before buying fun food like cheese or chocolate chips. So anything that is left over in our overall budget, depending on how much we ran the air conditioner that month, is pushed into a special savings plan. Last year we worked hard to save anything we could because we knew we would be returning to the States for 7 weeks at the end of the year. The hard work paid off (haha, no pun intended!) and we enjoyed our time in the States and picking up/doing a few special things as a result of those savings.

4.) I really enjoy simple pleasures, like taking a bike ride at a nearby lake or watching my son kick a ball on our quiet street. As I get older (32, in case you were wondering), the thing I enjoy most is spending time with my family and hearing my husband and children laugh.

{my little balls of energy}

5.) The itch to travel is in my blood. I was talking with my aunt about it one time, and we both agreed I come by my love for travel naturally, with my dad's side of the family (a few generations ago) moving to America. I love, love, love to travel and greatly enjoyed our deputation. Oh the places we've gone and will go!

Thanks for reading! Don't forget to stop by Susan's blog!