Sunday, August 16, 2015
Saturday, December 28, 2013
Sunday, December 15, 2013
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
A “wai” should be slow and graceful if at all possible. Fast, sloppy wais can convey a negative message. One “wai” for an initial greeting per person is all that is needed for the duration of the day. When attending an event, be sure to wai every friend and acquaintance as well as those with high status or age in the group. When you leave an event, you can say goodbye with a personal wai to your friends and then to everyone with a kind of general wai for the whole group, kind of swinging it around to include everyone. Use the honoring “wai” with your fingertips to the nose and slight bow of your head and shoulders.
Persons of high social status should be wai-ed first. Head schoolmasters, a governor, a business owner, people of rank in the government or community should be wai-ed immediately with an honoring wai when we come within eye-meeting proximity of them. Use the honoring wai again, bringing the fingertips up to the nose with a slight bowing of the head and shoulders down toward the fingertips.
Wai-ing people providing a service, such as the cashier at the store, shopkeepers, restaurant workers, housekeepers and so on is generally not done. That said, sometimes I see people returning the wai the service person gives them, or at least nodding in acknowledgement of the wai. Adults should not wai children, but if a child or student wais you first, you can give a low wai at your chest, while keeping your head and shoulders erect, to acknowledge their wai.
When receiving a gift, always wai before you take the gift. It is considered bad manners and I believe you look kind of ungrateful and greedy if you don’t show your thanks with a wai first before you reach for the gift.
The lower “wai,” sloppy, fast wais, or too many one-handed “wais” can convey lack of respect and actually cause the receiver of such a wai to lose face if done in front of others. That said, the giver of such a wai might simply be distracted, in a bad mood, or carrying things. If you think you have hurt someone’s feelings, just look for the next opportunity to give a better wai and they will feel your good intentions. Be sure to return wais even with things in your hands and arms, be it a phone or shopping bags, just do your best.
When introduced at church or at an event, wai with the honoring wai, you can swing this one around as well to include everyone, and give a big cheesy smile if you like.
There is one kind of fast, one-handed wai that students give to royalty when accepting their college diplomas. There are other kinds of wais reserved for royalty or giving honor to sacred objects, making an offering to monks, or even parents on certain occasions, but I have not included them here since as foreigners we will probably not be practicing these kinds of wais.
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Monday, October 21, 2013
On the flip side, as we take those steps to become friends with real Thai adults, we must also learn how to treat them well. Although much is forgiven the ignorant foreigner, our social sins of omission are multitude and feelings do get hurt. So it is good to try hard to make our Thai guests feel important as well.
If you have Thai guests coming to your home, meet them at the gate, and to do so you must be on the alert for their arrival. Waiting for your guests in your house until they are knocking on your door signals that you are not terribly thrilled with their visit. Greet them with giant smiles and wais, this is a moment to show some foreign emoting.
As soon as they are in your home, show them a nice comfortable place to sit, but if you have furniture, on a high place, not a low place like a cushion on the floor. Low placement conveys low social standing. Honor them with the seat of honor.
Bring them a refreshing drink. Ask them some questions about their families, their work, their lives. Bring some snacks! Have an attractive bowl or platter for your snacks and present them carefully and slowly right in front of your guest, not fast and sloppily. Snacks must be either freshly prepared, or if in a bag, opened in front of them with scissors. This is to convey you are not giving them leftovers. Give them all the snack, not just a little bowlful, even if it is a big bag of candy. Even chips should be put in a nice container, not left in the bag for them to dig through. Tissues and little forks or toothpicks are a must for fruit and other messy finger foods. Finger foods should be cut into bite-sized pieces. To be exceptionally polite, when you hand them their drink with your right hand, gently support your elbow with your left hand.
If you have them over for a meal, be sure to serve them first, and give them the choicest pieces of what you have to offer. Be attentive! When their drink runs out, refill it, when their plate is empty, give them more. When they look around frantically, find out what they need, or even better yet, anticipate what it is they need and bring it to them, like tissues. Notice what they like and don’t like and try to remember. These are friendship builders.
Ask them many questions and listen attentively to their answers. Look them in the eyes and smile. If you see something to compliment, say it. When they leave your house they will feel that you value them and their friendship is important to you.
Friday, October 18, 2013
Courtesy and respect is communicated not merely by words, but how one holds the body while talking, or the expression on the face while listening to the Thai speaker. I think it is helpful to think of proper etiquette as being gentle, slow, and graceful. Abrupt movements or careless, flinging hand movements can communicate aggression and lack of respect.
Being sensitive to subtle body language and indirect replies will also help to avoid confusion and misunderstandings.
For example, it is difficult for a Thai to say no, so their "no" may be communicated by a hesitant look on their face even as they say "yes". A tensing of their face and body may communicate displeasure or disagreement, even as they give a tight smile and agree with you verbally. Making an effort to watch Thais interact with elders, strangers and other respected persons is invaluable to learn social skills.
In any group, rank is respected and the eldest is revered. Showing respect for the eldest means not towering over them, but when in proximity to them, try to be on the same level. What this means is when they sit, you sit too, or even squat next to them if there is no chair. When you must pass by them, hunch over if you pass in front of them or try to pass in back of them. Never, never step over them or any of their body parts. (Never step over any one's body parts, if you can help it, and if you must, apologize first.)
In general foreigners appear large, awkward and aggressive to Thais. Standing arms akimbo is aggressive, pointing is rude and aggressive. Much of our enculturated love of independence and freedom of expression is expressed in how we hold ourselves, and is often interpreted by Thais as aggressive and arrogant. We were also told to have good posture and never hunch over, which is exactly what we must do in Thailand to communicate respect at certain times. Displays of emotion can be seen as immature, even positive emotion. To unlearn is not easy and can be quite humbling, but the benefits are enormous in terms of relationship building. When they see the effort we are making to be courteous, respectful and sensitive to their culture, the Thais will often express their pleasure. They will be more willing to spend time with us and be a real friend. They will not be embarrassed to bring us to social functions because they know we will not act like a neanderthal. With time some of these social graces can be eased with good friends, but it is always better to err on the courteous side than offend your friend.
Sunday, February 26, 2012
A Few Things I've Learned Through The Years
1. Being a language learner is an excellent ministry tool.
Thais love to help you learn their language. If you tell them you want to teach them something they may respond negatively, and you may not be able to teach your subject very well even if they consent to be taught. Asking them to help you learn a subject in Thai will make the experience pleasant for them, and help you get better in the language. I have a book that Thais have helped me with over and over again, the Creation to Christ Firm Foundations book.
2. Language will take you deeper into people’s lives.
Never be satisfied with your current level of language. I remember sitting at a creek listening to a teenager pour her heart out to me and I really couldn’t understand her. How could I possibly speak to her heart if I wasn’t sure what she was trying to communicate to me? The better I am at language the more Thais open their hearts to me and the more I know what to say to help them.
3. Recognize that you have made mistakes and you are not done making mistakes.
There will be big mistakes, little mistakes and seasons of discouragement. It doesn’t mean God is done using me, even when I feel done. Press on until the day that you are sure God is calling you somewhere else. Mistakes are embarrassing; they deflate your ego and make you feel like a loser. Bigger mistakes have a negative impact on the lives of people around you, including your family, and sometimes the lives of the Thai people, for whom you are supposed to be serving. Do not excuse your mistakes, but realize they do not mean you are finished with the work God has for you here. You are not here because you are perfect, you are here because you are responding to a call the Lord has on your life, and He has work for you to do. The mistake I made was not part of His work, and if I make a really big mistake I may just have to leave, but mistakes will be a part of my life experience here. Learn as much as I can from them, and try not to make the same stupid mistake again later.
4. Evaluation is important.
Careful and honest evaluation is painful. There are a myriad of things, if not a multitude, that we make excuses for, justify, if you will. There is tremendous pressure to be a super-person as a missionary, from many different directions. Because we are human we are unable to live up to our supporters, church's, co-workers, Thais, and most of all, our own, expectations of ourselves. It is important to understand who we are and what we are doing before God. I think because of the intense pressure to be exceptional and to do exceptional things, we become a little self-delusional. Live in reality.
5. Don't fool yourself, sometimes you are not doing alright.
Sometimes we are just coping, surviving, but not doing well. It shames us sometimes that we are not stronger people. Sometimes I ask myself what's wrong with me when it is obvious what's wrong to me and everyone else, but I can't stand the fact that I am not doing well. If you know you need help and don't get it, things will not get better. It might be difficult to admit I might need counseling, or that my kid needs extra help, or that I am not coping well with my present situation. These things make us feel like failures, or like we are indeed just normal human beings. Getting help is the right thing to do, because these are often the beginning pangs of a situation that will deteriorate on you and turn into something untenable.
6. Being willing to do things I don’t want to do.
Sometimes I am not particularly happy about the things God seems to be asking me to do. When I do them anyway I see how He uses and blesses them hugely. Some example for me would be homeschooling, baking and cooking a lot, being a follower instead of a leader, learning to keep my mouth shut.
7. Let your children be themselves.
Children are little people who will someday be big people, filled with their own ideas and living their own lives. What is happening now in their formative years is so deep we cannot see it or fathom it. We may think we understand our children, because we understand the words they speak and we see them constantly. What we forget is that much of what goes on in a human being is deeper than words and daily actions. And a child's behavior in front of their parents is not always an accurate representation of how they will behave in different social settings. It is certainly not an accurate representation of how they will behave as an adult, which is not too many years away. We may never know our children if we do not give them the freedom to be themselves and feel safe sharing their troubled and perhaps darker thoughts with us without feeling fear that we will not accept them. When they begin to have troubled thoughts, you must listen, you must take them seriously, or they may not come to you to talk about it again. You can be sure that often the little thought they brought to you is a small taste of something bigger going on in their soul, and they are trying to find out who they can talk to about it, if anyone.
8. Enjoy life as much as you can and don't feel guilty about it.
Good food, laughter, fun and times with the ones we love are gifts from God to be enjoyed and treasured.
9. Sometimes it's okay to leave early.
Sometimes it's okay to go to an event planning to leave as soon as possible. This attitude will help you go to an event that you really, really don't want to go to but feel you should. You may even stay longer than you thought you could stand, praise God.
10. "Do what you gotta do and apologize later."
Quote from Michelle Pierce, fellow missionary. This works especially well dealing with people that have unrealistic expectations of you, or when you find yourself in an impossible and absolutely ridiculous situation.
11. Try to find the humor in a stressful situation.
Laughing helps us cope with very difficult moments; the Thais really have this down. Try to remember what feel so awful and embarrassing right now may make an incredibly funny story later.
12. Every day is a gift, not a guarantee, and everything in our lives can change in a moment.
Wednesday, February 01, 2012
I am reminded of a short story written of a young man who visits a brothel for the first time and is horrified at what he sees. The degradation of the women moves him to great compassion and he agonizes over what he has seen and how it may be amended. After many sleepless and tormented days and nights of considering what must be done to stop such a blight, he is overwhelmed by the hopelessness of it all and gives up. What strikes me about this story is that it is often repeated in our own lives. We see injustice, we see evil, and we are horrified by it, but we are unsure of what to do, how to stop it, what difference our own little lives can make facing the giants of a fallen world system.
What to do? It is my frequent prayer that I will have ears to hear what it is that God desires me to do with my time, my days and hours, my resources, my money and possessions, my hands, mouth and feet...all gifts, all temporary, and all will come to an end sooner than I can imagine.
I am surprised sometimes at the small things He seems to ask me to do. Disciple this woman, bake these cookies, write this note, smile and listen to my children, pray, learn more Thai. Perhaps it is small tasks for a small person, not dramatic rescues, not saving the world. I am not out there with the prostitutes or in the slums. I am doing small things and dreaming of bigger things. I want to be faithful, though, as I do these things, so I will be ready if He ever calls me to do something bigger. In everything, though, there are lessons to be learned about love, obedience, and faithfulness. Some of my greatest lessons so far in life have been as I have raised my children.
To be faithful to do things, daily, for years, that I don't particularly enjoy. I feel that this is a big one. To be willing to serve as a wife, and a mother, and then as a teacher, for years, even though I am dreaming of different things in the in-between.
I am not a partcularly patient person, nor spiritual, nor anything remotely Christian, really. Yet I know everything good in my life is from Christ's intervention, and I know there is nothing as magnificent, powerful, and holy as God. I have walked with God, without God, I have asked all the questions and wandered in the wilderness. I know who I am. Getting to know God has been slower, and far more profound.
When we are presented with an opportunity, will we take it? Opportunities often present themselves in the most inconvenient, uncomfortable moments. We go along in our lives, finally on schedule, maybe even on time for the next event, and then there is this person, this situation, this moment where we must make a choice to act or not to act. The easiest thing is not to act. Acting will make us late, get someone irritated at us, throw everything off-kilter. God is so much like that, throwing us off-kilter, coming to us at the most inconvenient uncomfortable moments. Dear God, give us ears to hear, hands to act, hearts to obey.
Give me strength to do Your will today, give me strength not only to hear but to act.
Monday, January 30, 2012
I will be sure to take a shower in the morning. Most Thais bathe their children before school and take a shower before they come to work or eat dinner. 2 showers a day is standard, 1 shower a day is barely hygienic, and not so hygienic in the hot months. It took me years to understand how sensitive the average Thai nose is to bodily odors. Especially ours, since we smell funny to them, being foreigners. My Thai friends still feel a bit miffed that my kids don't take showers before school, and I only take one shower a day unless it's really hot. It makes sense that a Thai kiss is a sniff.
So it goes with starting a new partnership, I am excited and I am nervous, too. I will be going to a place called The Centre 3 days a week to help take over discipleship of women there and possibly help teach English if I have time. There is quite a mish-mash of people, and I suspect they don't understand each other very well, at least I don't think the Westerners understand the Thais very well, because they don't speak Thai fluently or at all.
I found it interesting that what was explained to me in English had a very different feel than what was explained to me in Thai. It will be a while before I understand the dynamics of things and I plan to watch and listen for a while before I come to any conclusions.
In the meantime, I will be praying and hopefully helping with discipleship. I am excited that the book I love to use, Firm Foundations in Thai by Don Schlatter, is also the book they love to use.
The next question, will I wear a nice dress or jeans? How will I present myself? This will have direct bearing on how I will be perceived and received. It is not about vanity, it is about communication and relationship building.
Monday, January 02, 2012
* Take the OMF level 2 test and then begin studying for the level 3 test.
* Continue to disciple the women at WonGen Cafe'.
* Seek for more women who are ready to be discipled.
* Continue to pray for all the ministries happening at WonGen Cafe'.
* Nurture and love Kennedy, Poppy & Jasper.
* Keep running. Run at least one 1/2 marathon this year.
Sunday, December 25, 2011
A typical party are tents and booths pitched outside on the dirt, sweaty crowds of people showing up for the food, treats & free presents. We play crazy games, kids are screaming, dogs are barking, there is trash everywhere and the sound system is so loud our ears are ringing.
Through the years my ideas about what Christmas is supposed to look and feel like have morphed from the American ideal into something much stranger and hardly recognizable for us whities.
I usually come home exhausted and half deaf, covered in dust and food. It's a grand and glorious time, always a funny new story, always the great feeling that you made Christmas for so many people. We still try to have a few hours Christmas morning as a family to get that sweet Merry Little Christmas time together, but the night before and time after is all for everyone else.
Thursday, December 08, 2011
In all relationships, communication is essential, time together is important.
Where I am from, getting together once a week to build a discipleship kind of relationship is seen as good enough.
I brought that idea here and I don't think it works very well. Relationships here need much more time, trust builds slowly, change comes gradually. Seeing is believing, especially in the areas of love and trust.
It is not enough that I am a Bible school graduate. It is not enough that I am fluent in the language and understand the culture. I am still an unknown foreign woman.
Working at WonGen Cafe' enables the women who work there to get to know who I am & I get to know who they are. How we work with customers, how we work together. In the hours we spend around each other, we learn about each other. We share real life together.
I learn about and see more of what they struggle with, I can ask them more about their lives, I can pray for them better. There is less pretending to be more than we really are, on both sides.
When we open the Scriptures to learn and open the book that teaches Creation to Christ we are not strangers, but 2 women becoming friends.
Those we spend time with influence us greatly.
Sunday, November 20, 2011
Oh Wendi. Why did it have to be you? I miss you so much.
Tuesday, November 08, 2011
My world is not as bright and beautiful.
Without you, Wendi, life is different and there is this pain that just sits there somewhere deep in me. I love you, I miss you so much, I still don't want to believe you are gone.
Monday, June 27, 2011
Friday, April 15, 2011
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Saturday, April 02, 2011
Tuesday, March 08, 2011
100 grams sourdough starter at 100% hydration.
100 grams whole wheat flour.
400 grams bread flour.
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons dill or herb of your choice
4 slices of bacon, chopped up (optional)
Day 1: (evening works best) Mix 100 grams starter with 100 grams bread flour and 100 grams water & add 1/2 teaspoon salt & set aside. This is the levain. Mix 100 grams bread flour and 100 grams wheat flour with 200 grams water & add 1 teaspoon salt. This is the autolyse and will give you better/more complex flavors. Leave both mixtures out at room temperature overnight, no longer than 12 hours.
Day 2: (morning) Mix together yesterdays concoctions, add 1 teaspoon salt, dill/herb, bacon & 200 grams bread flour. Knead lightly, put in oiled bowl and cover. After 30-45 minutes do a stretch and fold. Oil kneading surface and hands, take out and gently spread into a rectangle. Fold. Put back in bowl & cover. Repeat 2 more times 30-40 minutes apart. After the 3rd time put plastic wrap back on & put in the fridge. This is to develop the gluten of your dough without popping all the developing bubbles inside, giving you a better "crumb" structure, more open instead of dense.
(evening) Take out of bowl, very gently shape into ball, sprinkle bowl well with cornmeal or rice flour so it won't stick, place back in bowl, seam side up. Put back in fridge.
Day 3: (morning) Take bowl out of fridge & let finish raising for 2 hours or so, until not quite completely raised. Preheat oven to 475 F. When oven is ready, very gently invert bowl over parchment covered cookie sheet. Slice top, cover with larger bowl, gently place in oven. This steams the bread and gives it the marvelous carmelized and chewy crust. At 15 minutes take the bowl off and turn down the heat to 425 F. Rotate loaf for even baking. Bake another 25-30 minutes until internal temperature is 200 F, or you feel the loaf has a hollow sound & is done.
The recipe I've posted above is the result of hours of studying the excellent bread site, The Fresh Loaf and many trials & errors. The simplest recipe, however, can be found by clicking the title of this blog entry, which will take you to the Sourdoughome link. It will probably not have the carmelized, crunchy crust and it will taste different, but it will be delicious, I'm sure!
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Once my special microbe colony was healthy I had to learn how to make the bread with it. I wasn't satisfied with simply making a loaf. I had seen the gorgeous boule loaves of bread on TFL website, and I could no longer be sated on a simple loaf. I became inflamed with bread-lust. This is my confession, I gave monosyllabic replies to my son when he showed me his Lego creations. I was late to bed, I was dreaming of bread at night. (I am not kidding.) Boules, beautiful boules, how does one acheive them? My attempts were flat pancakes, dense crumb structure, shameful examples of bread. I drooled over the masterpieces I saw on TFL. So I lurked and read for hours, tried new techniques, forgot the salt sometimes, and finally made something that resembled THE BOULE. Then, things got better. I got a peel, the thing you use to put bread in the oven so you don't have to use your hands and deflate the bubbles. I found a Thai improvision for La Cloche, a magnificent bread making devise that gives you ovenspring (additional rise in the oven.) I found special high protein flours, I made other improvisions for a couche...and lo...
(Can you hear the music?) My first gorgeous bread. It takes about 36 hours from start to finish. Glorious!
Tuesday, February 08, 2011
Within days of his final decision almost all of our furniture sold and everything fell into place to make a very fast move. Personally, this was a difficult move for me and I am still in a bit of shock about the whole thing. I am very glad to be with Poppy again, though, and she is so much happier to be with us.
So here we are in Northern Thailand and I am feeling rather dazed and confused. I know that everything will make perfect sense later and right now is a time of transition.
Kennedy picked a lovely house for our family and it is good to be together again. At least there shouldn't be any more cobras or king cobras. :)
Sunday, February 06, 2011
Earlier that morning I had encountered a huge black snake while gardening that scared me to death but turned out to be just a rat snake.
After lunch I heard the dogs bark their "I found a snake" bark, so I went out to investigate. I pulled back a box, heard a hiss, and thought "Oh great, a cobra." I called my Thai friends to come kill it. Then I saw it. It was huge. I thought how strange it was that a python was hissing, didn't think they hissed. So I called another Thai friend, Tanom, who is a hunter and wouldn't be afraid of a big snake.
The 2 men killed it and it was a king cobra. I hope I never have to find another one.
Friday, October 08, 2010
We are holding our camp, and it went well yesterday. Some of the parents no longer allow their teenage children to associate with us or do anything with us because their children have professed faith in Christ. Other kids are travelling or just off doing their own thing during this school break. We had 7 kids yesterday. John held it at his house and we helped him make a Filipino pork dish, very yummy.
Today we are holding it at our house and will have homemade pizza & Thai food. We will take them to the beach later to body/boogie-board surf.
Tuesday, October 05, 2010
Um is a girl who has been coming to our center for the past 2 years. This year she is 16 and in 11th grade.
Um has been having episodes where she freezes up, turns greenish, and starts to panic for no reason. Our partner John has taken her to the hospital 3 times; we went the 2nd time to a hospital 2 hours away that had a good reputation. The diagnosis was stress. Every time John would pray for her and then she would be fine.
After John brought her home from the hospital for the last time, her mom opened up about the cause of her stress.
Several years ago the mother was in terrible debt and did not know what to do. She gave her children over to the Vegetarian Festival priests to get help. Shortly after that she won a lottery and paid all her debts off.
Um began to have her panic attacks sometime after that.
This year the priests want Um to participate in the Vegetarian Festival and sleep overnight at the temple for the week. She did not want to go, she was afraid, but her mother wanted her to go.
She has made a decision to stay at a relative's home near the temple and participate in the activities this year.
I am spending the last 3 evenings before she goes going over my testimony with her. I was delivered from spirit possession when I was 16 years old and became a Christian. I want to share with her that there is a higher power than the spirits that enter and control these hundreds of people that will participate in the Vegetarian Festival.
She knows thus far it has only been prayer in the name of Jesus that has helped her.
We are praying she will choose Him, and freedom from the spirits.
Monday, October 04, 2010
Like a spiritual cloud decending on the provinces here that participate, the darkness is palpable. The presence of spiritual beings is oppressive and discouraging. We are in the middle of a part of the world that has been under the enemy's control for thousands of years and this festival is just the latest manifestation of the show of this control. We are teaching our teens and new believing adults that the Creator God is far more powerful than these spirits. They do not need to be afraid, they do not need to hide themselves away during these weeks. They do not need to fear the retribution of the spirits if they refuse to participate.
For us Westerners, such things are difficult to imagine until we see it with our own eyes.
Thank you for your prayers for us and the people He loves and redeemed.
Saturday, October 02, 2010
Friday, September 10, 2010
Poppy is in the dorm and she loves it, and her new school.
We have met the new believers and more have believed since we arrived back and it has been wonderful to get to know them all. To date we have 17 teens who have believed.
Kennedy is teaching art and I am teaching English in the evenings Monday through Thursday. Kennedy spends an hour with Jasper in the morning to get some quality dad time in every day. Fridays and Saturdays are family days.
Kennedy almost got bit by a juvenile cobra the first week we returned. This past week he found an adult and killed it with a lawnmower, in our yard.
We are seranaded every night by drunk men in the karoake bar across the street from us. A few nights ago Kennedy was dreaming he was going to get into a fist fight with them because he couldn't get any sleep. So we are kind of sleepy during the day.
Our main priority is discipling these new believers and visiting their moms & dads.
We are eating a lot of delicious cheap Thai food.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
There are now 14 teens that we will have the joy of baptising with John our Filipino partner, in the gorgeous Andaman Sea. The activities at the center are growing, and we will put our hands and hearts into it to minister, for the sake of and because of the love of the Christ that is our strength and joy.
We don't know where we will live or if Poppy will have a dorm to go to, but we live by faith and He has never, never let us down.
Thank you for being part of our journey, for being our friend, we cherish you.
Tuesday, May 04, 2010
We are going to Chicago for the first 2 weeks of this month, May. Our children will stay with their grandparents and finish up schooling.
This summer we are planning to spend a lot of time camping and hiking before we pack our bags to return to Southern Thailand late July. We are praying that this time will be a time to quiet and heal our hearts as a family so we are ready to give it our all when we return to Thailand. There are 13 new believers waiting for us at the Music/Art Center.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for all your thoughts, prayers, listening ears, support and encouraging words these past few months. It has all helped us so much and we are grateful for you.
Life is full of painful, strange events, alongside the wonderful, delightful ones...we want to walk them all with the Lover of our Souls.
Let's continue to love and encourage one another.
Sunday, May 02, 2010
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Sweep in like a tidal inundation
seep into the earth, erosion, erode and fill
push in then flow out again
take part of me with you
leave part of you with me
I step into your ocean
I step into your world
strange creatures lurk under
your mysterious waves
all your flotsam and jetsam
swirl around me
I hear your weeping
wind blow through gentle
melodies, violent dissonance
I will gather the moments I have had with you
like colored glass on a beach
let them slide through my fingers
Your waves crash over me
Rush in like an inundating wave
and then recede
tidal water, rushes back
ebbing and rising
here and then gone
Friday, April 09, 2010
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
"At the airport on the 25th of February, God gave me a word. It’s at 8th chapter of John verses 31-36, “the truth will set you free...We (Jews) answered him (Jesus)...have never been slaved by anyone...Jesus answered them, everyone who commits sin is slave to sin...So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”
The Thais are proud that they never been slaved by any Western power and they are very proud of that. They thought they are FREE! But, Jesus said “everyone who commits sin is slave to sin”. The Thais need Jesus to set them free too.
The Sunday of 28th of February, I shared the message I got from God with our youth during our cell group.
Some of our youth were convicted. They realized that they are enslaved in sin and needing Jesus to set them free. There were seven youth which are in the picture on the right hand side accepted Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior."
Two weeks later another girl believed. Total of 8 teens, 4 boys and 4 girls. Yeah!!!
We are so wanting to be there right now, but are super excited about this news. We know we are where we should be, so we are praying for John and these 8 teens.
Monday, February 22, 2010
In a world where one worships the governing spirits of the area, ancestors, the Buddha and some Hindu gods thrown in there as well, the idea of one God is a radical one. That this God is interested in our lives personally and desires not only reconciliation but relationship is also a strange concept for Theravada Buddhists of this region. The gods they know can be appeased and cajoled by small offerings of flowers, incense, food and prayers. The God we are presenting to them is not impressed by any of those small offerings or any big ones, either, much less promises to be a monk or do something good in return for a personal favor. That is the normal kind of relationship between our Southern Thai neighbors and their gods.
We are thrilled that there is indeed a breakthrough and pray earnestly for that moment when they will recognize their amazing Creator and lover of their soul.
Saturday, February 20, 2010
It is a terrible experience to see someone you love in so much pain and distress and not know what to do about it or how to help. Our first few visits with Rosie were heartbreaking and difficult to deal with.
When Rosie chose to do chemotherapy it caused mouth sores, gastrointestinal distress and other symptoms that made it impossible for her to continue the chemo treatment, even though it would mean adding months to her life. She has chosen hospice instead and there has been a significant improvement in the quality of her life, for which we are very grateful. Hospice has provided additional morphine that has stopped "breakthough" pain and enabled Rosie to go through her days and nights without the excruciating pain that she was experiencing. Hospice has also provided a special hospital bed that is much more comfortable for her. A nurse comes to bathe her and check on her, and there is someone monitoring her medication daily.
Visits are good now, with opportunities to talk together, to eat together, and sometimes even to laugh together. To hug, kiss and say "I love you" to this beloved woman. Thank you for praying with us, we are so thankful for you.
Monday, February 08, 2010
The sky turned into a brilliant collection of fiery sunset colors as we drove, then dimmed to dull smokey oranges and charcoals, the clouds collected in towering swatches across the sky, dully lit and torn in places. The leafless winter trees were grotesque lacy black cutouts in a bizarre landscape. Oncoming cars swept by like dull and dirty stars, and the tension in me eased as the miles unwound themselves on the asphalt.
I know it's probably better to talk through one's emotions, but I haven't been good at that lately. I feel too numb, I don't want to talk about what I'm feeling or thinking.
But I love these long drives where I don't have to say a word, and these long runs where I can be silent and only listen, and only watch.
Today I watched my best friend, who is also battling cancer for her life, look at me with tears in her beautiful eyes and say, "I want to live longer."
Oh God, please intervene.
Friday, February 05, 2010
Monday, January 25, 2010
And for Rosie, as a woman who had so much love and care for other people, I have to wonder if it is difficult to give up that role and let others do the caring. For those beautiful people who are the "givers" rather than the "takers" I suspect it is a difficult role-reversal to find oneself suddenly unable to "give" anymore.
Rosie has been a wonderful mother-in-law to me. She has always been supportive, loving, and never overbearing or demanding. It has been a joy to be her daughter-in-law these past 18 years and I am grateful for such a lovely person in my life. I have enjoyed getting to know her and hear the stories of her life, learning about this person who gave birth to and mothered my husband. I have enjoyed my husband's stories about growing up with his adventurous and lovely mother.
Monday, January 18, 2010
Once I started running it all changed. I started listening to bands with a harder beat to help me keep going when I started feeling the pain of longer runs. And to block out my labored breathing!
I've added roughly a mile per month and this month I will be going for 11 miles. I have been training for a June half-marathon in Phuket, Thailand, but of course that had to be cancelled. So I found a new half-marathon in Fair Oaks, California, May 1st, along the American River. I can't wait, it looks so beautiful and it will be Spring by then, super gorgeous. There's a field of poppies along the way, and the theme is "green" so I like that, too.
I love the way the running busts the stress and enables me to drink in the natural beauty around me. I haven't felt this good or strong in years, and I got off the extra weight I gained the year before last. I thoroughly enjoy how so many of my friends are running, too.
I am starting to think about the marathon, now, crazy as 26 miles sounds right now. 13 miles sounded just as insane a year ago!
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Kennedy is with his mother at the doctor's office this morning learning what exactly she has and the prognosis.
It was very hard to leave Thailand, even though we know we need to be here with Kennedy's mom. We trust what God is doing in our lives, though, and we know this is where we are supposed to be. Our last few weeks were a blur of packing and saying goodbye to the ones we love. I was surprised how often I found myself weeping, and how hard it was to leave. I remember how hard it was to leave the U.S. over 10 years ago, and I never imagined it would be so hard to leave Thailand to come back. Of course we plan to go back, but nothing is certain, and we gave up our home before we came back this time.
Every step of the process of leaving was filled with the mercy of God. We are amazed at His love and provision day by day, moment by moment. I am so grateful for how smoothly everything went, and for the great support and help of beloved friends.
We had an intern with us our last 3 weeks, Andrew Meyers, and he was a huge help in the packing and closing down of our lives in Thailand. Poppy & Jasper enjoyed him thoroughly, and he was there at critical moments when we needed help. He also helped us take time to stop and play, and that was really good for us, too. Just before we left we stayed the night at a national park, Khao Sok, on a floating cabin on a lake. It was so gorgeous, like being in a different world. We woke up to the calling of gibbons and it was an oasis of beauty and peace for 24 hours.
Shortly after that we were on the jet and preparing for a new phase in our lives.
We hope to see you while we are home, beloved friends & family.