Monday, June 28, 2010

More Thailand Pictures within My Response to Psalm 103

Created and Creator, we are forever linked together. My name was on your lips long before I spoke my first word. It is a shame that it took, that it takes long to remember you.

You are the one who
and reveals.

I bow to you,

as one







and enlightened.

Oh, praise you Lord!

I will rise up to walk among my family and my neighbors

extending your forgiveness

offering your healing and redemption

sharing an anointing

encouraging satisfaction and renewal

perpetrating justice

and making known your ways.

Yet, I am a woman who forgets. Have compassion on me Lord when I forget our covenant and its benefits. Have mercy on me Lord when I forget our covenant and its cost. In my lack of remembrance, stir my heart to return to you. And then, with all that is within me, may I praise you Lord!

Thank you Mariana Long for the AMAZING photographs.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Land of Smiles

There have been many nights in the past few years where I have cried myself to sleep, but last night, a first...I laughed myself to sleep. Literally.

When I woke up, I just smiled thinking of it all over again. Thank you to all the participants and the team for a difficult week (processing, sharing, growing, etc.) that ended in a freedom that could only lead to joy!

What a way to end a wonderful Come before Winter trip in Thailand, the land of smiles.

Honey, I'm headin' home. Pics soon to come!!

Friday, June 11, 2010


I will tell you up front: no pictures yet. I have a quick log-in to share that our group arrived safely in Bangkok last night.

From Brazil, Abilene, Austin, and Dallas, the Come before Winter team is here safe and sound. Today, we travel to our renewal site in Chiang Rai (about 1.5 hours via plane). The participants will arrive Monday, so we have a day to finish preparations and meet up with one more team member (who is in Northern Thailand visiting her daughter for a few days before the trip).

I am already crying at how amazing the trip has been...and it's not from back pain induced by a total of 19 hours on a plane! I am savoring every bite of amazing food (Michael will vouch for my love for all Asian food), soaking up all the new cultural nuances, and enjoying the conversations with the team. These women are AWESOME servants in the kingdom with a wealth of experiences, both in international travel and in their respective ministries. The stories, the stories! I'll save some for later, but I'll tell you one that happened to my roomie this morning.

Cara and her husband Chris are former missionaries to Thailand (8 years ago). He is a Fuller grad (like Michael) ,and she is a therapist on a college campus (also like Michael). It's a generous gift that we are matched to room together this whole trip, for we have a lot in common.

Cara answers the phone this morning, thinking that it's one of our teammates. She quickly switches to Thai, and now I'm wondering, "Who is calling her that she is speaking Thai...and why is she so giddy?" She says that a former church member from Chiang Mai is downstairs in the lobby, and she wants to meet with Cara. "How'd she know we were here?" is my question.

This woman, in the 8 years since Cara moved back to the states, has married an American, who works for Coca-Cola in Papau New Guinea (a renewal site last year, btw). They were returning to PNG from Australia with an overnight in Bangkok. Guess which hotel they stayed in? Yep, ours.

So, while we were checking in late last night, this woman caught a glimpse of Cara in the lobby, and thought, "Could it be her?" She called a friend in Chiang Mai to double check Cara's last name, verified it with the hotel, and called us up this morning!

Cara was able to catch up with this woman, meet her son, and be immediately immersed back into a sweet, sweet time in her life. She said, "God knows me so well. He knows if I had time to plan a meeting like this, I would get so nervous and freeze. But instead, he surprises me, and to my amazement, my Thai came right back to me and we were able to share a special time together."

And this is day one people!

So, keep praying on us and loving us from afar. I am off to try NOT to take a nap (we are exactly 12 hours opposite the clocks at home), but after all the Pad Kraw I just ate, that might be a problem.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

What a Difference a Year Makes

As we are ending the school year and celebrating June's 1st birthday, I'd be remiss not to reflect a little on the past year. And in doing so, I keep thinking, "Wow! What a difference a year makes!"

Last year, I was literally doing somersaults in the pool to try to turn a breech baby. This year, that baby is LOVING the pool herself.

PS: If you're local and want a pool break, call me. Watching 2 kids at a busy apartment pool is no joke, and I'd love the company during the long summer days!

Last year, June was 8 pounds & 7 ounces; today she's 23 pounds.

Last year, she was 21 inches; today she's 31 inches.

Last year, I took a 3 day old baby to Owen's day care for his end-of-year ceremonies.

This is him last year.

And this year, a took a squirmy 1 year old to watch him confidently finish a year of pre-K.
This is his "cool breeze" photo. The teacher told the 3 answers every kid replied to these questions:
  1. What do you want to be when you grow up?
  2. What was your favorite thing about pre-K?
  3. What do you want to learn in kindergarten?
Owen said:
  1. doctor
  2. recess
  3. to read
On the reading front, I marvel at the human mind! What a gift to watch him learning more and more of what is really such a complex process. If you can read this, take a moment to appreciate the value of your education. We are blessed to have access to such amazing educational opportunities here in the US, are we not?

One more pic of my handsome dude!

Last year, Michael wondered if he'd ever finish his degree and start a career.
This year, Dr. A received a successful mid-year review from his employer.

Wow, those 2 tiny sentences carry a lot of weight for me. Tears of joy!

Last year, I was a full-time teacher whose favorite student was born in Thailand.
This year, I'm a stay-at-home mom, work part-time in apartment ministry, and am traveling to Thailand in less than a week!

Please be praying for the whole Come before Winter team and the participants at the renewal in Chiang Rai.

It has been so odd to not be in the classroom this year; I often have dreams that I am teaching or managing a class. Very surreal in the morning when I can't figure out if I need to be getting dressed for work or a day with the kids. Being at home had a steep learning curve, and in fact, I feel like I have more off-days than successes.

I laugh when I recall the nights after a long day teaching, picking Owen up from daycare, making dinner, and doing the bedtime routine when I'd collapse on the couch and tell Michael how if I was home all day, maybe I'd have more energy or patience. Now, after a long day parenting and doing stuff at the apartment complex, making dinner, and doing the bedtime routine, I still collapse on the couch and tell Michael that if I was working, maybe I'd have more energy or patience. Ha ha! I just have to remember that we are parents of young ones, and sometimes the days are long. But the years go by quickly. So here's to another year. I cherished and loved it.

And these pics are just because I still can't believe she's this big...trying to figure out how to ride this toy her cousin Abby handed down to her.

And this is the "I see you trying to sneak up and steal this precious Dora card, and I will throw down, if necessary!"
On your mark, get set...

Lord, you are faithful in all things, and I praise you for your constant companionship through the ups and downs of this year. There were times I hesitated to go down the road you have called us to as a family, but you have been a light to my feet. That you may be known...